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LIBRARY  OF 

WELLES  LEY  COLLEGE 


PURCHASED  FROM 


Dean  Fiand 


&a.^y.  .^t:^!^^^--^  >^ 


.  s,y<^/7 


JOHANNES    BRAHMS 

THE  HERZOGENBERG  CORRESPONDENCE 


J^crfhann^eA  cyOraJurtA 


Srrten.^  'cUk.erS^fL.3^. 


JOHANNES   BRAHMS 

THE     HERZOGENBERG 
CORRESPONDENCE 

EDITED  BY  MAX  KALBECK 
TRANSLATED    BY    HANNAH    BRYANT 

WITH  PORTRAIT 


LONDON 
JOHN  MURRAY,  ALBEMARLE  STREET,  W. 

1909 


'    Z-   i 


^A^\L,2^ 


\^^^^\ 


^»U\v. 


PREFACE 

{Adapted  from  the  Preface  to  the  German  Edition.) 

The  following  correspondence  between  Johannes 
Brahms  and  Heinrich  and  Elisabet  von  Herzogen- 
berg  extends  over  a  period  of  twenty-one  years  (1876- 
1897),  and  shows  the  gradual  ripening  into  intimacy  of 
a  friendship  the  seed  of  which  was  laid  some  ten  or 
twelve  years  earlier  in  Vienna,  where  Brahms  had 
established  himself  in  1862. 

Heinrich  Picot  de  Peccaduc,  Freiherr  von  Herzo- 
genberg  (b.  at  Graz,  June  10,  1843),  son  of  August 
Peter  von  Herzogenberg,  an  Austrian  Court  official, 
was  descended  from  an  old  French  noble  family  which 
had  settled  in  Austria,  taking  the  name  Herzogenberg 
as  the  German  form  of  Peccaduc.  In  1862  he  gave  up 
his  law  studies  and  came  to  Vienna  to  study  music 
under  Otto  Dessoff,  director  of  the  Opera  and  the 
Philharmonic  concerts,  and  professor  at  the  Conserva- 
torium.  His  talents  were  of  a  wide  order,  and  his 
tendency  was  to  dabble  in  all  the  arts;  but  he  soon 
recognized  the  necessity  of  concentrating  his  energies 
on  one  subject,  and  realized  that  in  choosing  music  he 
would  be  able  to  turn  to  good  account  all  the  general 
culture  he  had  acquired.  In  the  same  year  (1862) 
Brahms  left  his  birthplace,  Hamburg,  and  came  to 
live  in  Vienna.  In  him  Herzogenberg  promptly 
recognized  his  ideal.     They  probably  became  person- 


vi  PREFACE 

ally  acquainted  at  Dessoff's  house,  in  1863  or  1864, 
where  Brahms  was  a  privileged  visitor.  Herzogen- 
berg  had  up  to  that  time  been  strongly  influenced 
by,  first,  Schumann,  then  Wagner  and  the  New 
German  school.  He  was  now  convinced  that  he  was 
on  the  wrong  path,  and  set  himself  with  the  utmost 
deliberation  to  conquer  his  native  exuberance,  and  to 
shake  off  the  effect  of  these  influences  by  a  severe 
course  of  theoretical  study,  taking  Bach  as  his  model. 
There  is  no  doubt  that  his  compositions  lost  in 
spontaneity  and  imagination  in  consequence,  for  his 
ruthless  suppression  of  the  natural  instincts  he  had 
learned  to  mistrust  made  him  almost  a  slave  to  form 
and  technique.  But  his  oratorios  and  the  Church 
music  to  which,  in  later  years,  he  chiefly  devoted  him- 
self bear  unmistakable  traces  of  the  Catholicism  which 
was  in  his  blood  and  had  been  fostered  by  his  educa- 
tion at  a  Jesuit  college,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  they 
were  written  strictly  for  performance  in  Protestant 
churches ;  and  as  these  are  the  results  on  which  his 
present  fame  rests  and  by  which  a  future  generation 
will  judge  him,  it  would  seem  a  matter  for  gratitude 
that  his  system  of  self-repression  was  not  entirely 
successful.  Whether  his  whole  attitude  was  a  mis- 
take or  not,  his  long  struggle  with  his  own  tempera- 
ment was  nothing  short  of  heroic,  and  his  unselfish, 
unwavering  devotion  to  Brahms  shows  the  natural 
sweetness  of  a  nature  modest  almost  to  excess.  In 
reading  the  letters,  we  realize  what  an  occasional 
word  of  encouragement  from  his  idol  would  have 
meant  to  him,  and  did  mean,  on  the  few  occasions 
when  Brahms  was  able  to  say  that  anything  had 
pleased  him.  His  respect  for  Herzogenberg's  musical 
knowledge  was  most  genuine,  and  he  is  said  to  have 


PREFACE  vii 

exclaimed   on   one   occasion :    '  Herzogenberg  knows 
more  than  all  the  rest  of  us  put  together.' 

Herzogenberg's  studies  with  Dessoff  ended  in  1864. 
On  November  26,  1868,  after  a  long  courtship,  he 
married  Elisabet,  youngest  child  of  Freiherr  Bodo 
Albrecht  von  Stockhausen — whose  full  title  ran:  Herr 
auf  Lewenhagen,  Imbsen,  Niedemjesa,  Stane,  Her- 
mannsrode — at  that  time  Ambassador  at  the  Court 
of  Vienna,  a  descendant  of  an  ancient  noble  family 
of  Hesse  mentioned  in  the  following  of  Duke  Otto  of 
Bavaria  as  early  as  1070. 

Elisabet  von  Stockhausen  was  born  in  Paris  on 
April  13,  1847.  li^  1853  her  father  exchanged  from 
Paris  (where  he  had  been  able  to  devote  considerable 
time  to  music,  being,  indeed,  a  pupil  of  Chopin)  to 
Vienna.  His  wife,  Klothilde  Annette  {nee  Grafin  von 
Baudissin),  made  literature  her  chief  study,  and  to  her 
Elisabet  owed  not  only  her  beauty  and  charm,  but  her 
quick  intelligence  and  remarkable  powers  of  penetra- 
tion, while  her  great  musical  talent  was  inherited 
from  her  father.  The  home  life  was  a  very  happy 
one.  Freiherr  von  Stockhausen  was  a  religious  man 
and  a  strict  Protestant,  and  the  children  were  piously 
brought  up,  besides  receiving  every  educational  ad- 
vantage. The  two  sisters  (Julie,  the  elder,  was  born 
in  Paris  on  February  25,  1842)  were  familiar  figures  in 
Viennese  society,  and  particularly  in  the  concert-rooms 
and  theatres,  in  the  middle  of  the  'sixties.  Elisabet's 
musical  studies  were  made  under  Dirzka,  an  organist, 
and  later  under  Julius  Epstein,  at  that  time  the  principal 
pianist  and  teacher  in  Vienna.  Her  progress  was  all 
that  could  be  desired.  She  had  a  wonderful  memory, 
fluent  natural  technique,  a  delicate  touch,  a  quick  grasp 
of  her  subject  and  a  true  musician's  temperament. 


viii  PREFACE 

Brahms  was  at  this  stage  of  his  career  obliged  to 
give  lessons,  to  eke  out  a  slender  income  of  which  the 
only  assured  item  was  his  small  salary  as  conductor 
of  the  Singakademie.  A  new  pupil  was  consequently 
a  matter  of  some  importance,  and  he  willingly  under- 
took to  give  Elisabet  von  Stockhausen  some  piano 
lessons.  After  a  very  short  time,  however,  he  asked 
to  be  released  from  the  engagement,  the  reason  given 
being  that  Epstein  must  necessarily  feel  injured  at 
being  supplanted,  and  with  justice.  In  vain  was  it 
represented  to  him  that  Epstein  still  taught  the  elder 
sister  Julie,  and  had  besides  more  pupils  than  he  knew 
what  to  do  with.  Brahms  persisted  in  his  decision, 
and  the  lessons  ceased  abruptly. 

The  young  married  couple  first  settled  at  Graz,  but 
removed  to  Leipzig  in  1872,  where  they  found  more 
scope.  Here  Herzogenberg  came  more  and  more 
under  the  influence  of  Bach.  On  January  31,  1875, 
in  conjunction  with  Alfred  Volkland,  Philipp  Spitta, 
and  Franz  von  Holstein,  he  founded  the  Leipzig  Bach- 
verein,  and  shortly  after  became  president.  The  post 
brought  him  little  beside  honour ;  for  although  his 
salary  was  doubled  with  great  regularity  at  each 
annual  meeting,  he  received  the  same  amount  in 
the  last  year  of  his  presidency  as  the  first.  *  Let 
arithmeticians  solve  the  problem !'  says  a  humorous 
chronicler  of  the  society's  doings.  His  wife  rendered 
invaluable  aid  by  rallying  the  lazier  members  of  the 
chorus,  encouraging  the  disheartened  ones  and  leading 
the  sopranos  herself 

Once  Herzogenberg  had  established  a  footing  in 
Leipzig,  his  thoughts  turned  to  a  scheme  for  increasing 
the  popularity  of  Brahms's  music  in  that  town.  Some 
signs   of  improvement   had   already   been   felt.     The 


PREFACE  ix 

D  minor  concerto,  played  by  Frau  Clara  Schumann 
in  1873,  had  not  been  hissed,  as  on  the  occasion  of 
its  first  performance  in  1859,  while  a  performance  of 
the  German  Requiem  at  about  the  same  time  had  to 
a  certain  extent  opened  the  eyes  of  the  Leipzigers. 
The  enthusiasm  with  which  his  works  were  being 
received  in  other  places  was  also  beginning  to  take 
effect.  Altogether  the  time  seemed  ripe  for  a  great 
effort,  and  the  little  group  of  Brahms's  admirers,  with 
Herzogenberg  at  their  head,  joined  with  Riedel  and 
the  Gewandhaus  committee  in  arranging  a  *  Brahms 
week.'  Brahms  accepted  their  invitation,  though  with 
some  reluctance,  and  arrived  at  Leipzig  on  January  29, 

1874. 

The  week's  programme  included  an  evening  given 
by  a  branch  of  the  Allgememe  Deutsche  Musikverein, 
a  matinee  of  chamber-music  at  the  Gewandhaus, 
at  which  Brahms  played,  a  performance  of  Rinaldo 
conducted  by  him,  and  an  extra  concert  given  at  the 
Gewandhaus,  at  which  the  orchestral  Variations  on  a 
Haydn  Theme,  Op.  56,  the  Rhapsodie  for  contralto 
solo,  men's  chorus  and  orchestra.  Op.  53,  and  three 
Htmgarian  Dances  in  manuscript,  figured  as  novelties, 
while  Brahms  and  Reinecke  played  a  dozen  of  the 
Liebeslieder  duets.  Op.  52.  The  inaugurators  of  the 
scheme  had  every  reason  to  be  satisfied  with  the 
result.  Brahms  was  the  hero  of  the  hour,  his  social 
success  being  hardly  less  marked  than  his  public 
triumphs.  It  was  on  this  occasion  that  the  Herzogen- 
bergs  were  drawn  more  closely  to  him.  Elisabet 
wrote  to  her  friend  in  Vienna,  Frau  Bertha  Faber: 
'I  must  tell  you  how  much  we  liked  your  Johannes 
this  time.  He  was  not  like  the  same  person.  .  .  . 
So  many  people  suffer  shipwreck  on  that  dangerous 


X  PREFACE 

rock  called  Fame ;  but  we  all  felt  that  it  had  mellowed 
him,  and  made  him  kinder  and  more  tolerant.  He 
does  not  wear  a  halo  of  infallibility  a  la  Richard 
Wagner,  but  has  a  quiet  air  of  having  achieved  what 
he  set  out  to  accomplish,  and  is  content  to  live  and  let 
live.'  Three  years  later,  when  Brahms  again  visited 
Leipzig,  he  stayed  with  the  Herzogenbergs,  and  the 
course  of  their  friendship  from  that  time  onwards  is 
traced  in  the  letters. 

Elisabet's  death  at  San  Remo  on  January  7,  1892, 
from  heart  disease,  was  a  heavy  blow,  not  only  to 
her  husband,  but  to  Brahms,  who  had  come  to  rely 
on  her  sympathetic  judgment  and  absolutely  frank 
criticism.  Her  personality  seems  to  have  exercised 
an  unfailing  charm  on  everyone  with  whom  she  came 
in  contact.  She  had  beauty,  nobility  of  character, 
womanly  tenderness,  a  passionate  love  of  truth  and 
justice,  the  courage  of  her  opinions — every  good  thing, 
in  fact,  but  health.  Never  strong,  she  overtaxed 
herself  by  nursing  her  husband  through  a  long  illness, 
and  the  strain  told  on  her  weak  heart.  After  her 
death,  Herzogenberg  shut  himself  up  in  the  house  he 
had  finished  building  just  too  late  for  his  wife  to  set 
foot  in  it,  and  buried  himself  in  work.  His  Totenfeier^ 
a  sacred  cantata,  is  a  beautiful  monument  to  her 
memory.  His  great  grief  seems  to  have  brought  out 
the  best  in  him,  and  his  finest  work,  including  the 
three  great  oratorios — Die  Geburt  Christi^  Op.  90;  the 
Passion  Music,  Op.  93 ;  and  the  Erntcfeier,  Op.  104 — 
was  written  in  these  last  years  of  his  life.  As  time 
went  on  he  began  to  collect  his  friends  about  him 
again,  and  every  year  saw  a  group  of  fellow-artists 
and  musicians  assembled  at  the  little  house,  Zum 
Abendrot,  on  Lake  Constance.    He  died  at  Wiesbaden 


PREFACE  xi 

on  October  9,  1900,  having  survived  his  wife  by  eight, 
and  Brahms  by  three,  years. 

***** 

In  May,  1891,  Brahms  addressed  to  his  publisher, 
Fritz  Simrock,  a  document  which  he  described  as  his 
last  will.  It  was,  however,  too  hastily  drafted  to 
fulfil  legal  requirements,  and  was  subsequently  de- 
clared invalid.  In  it  Brahms  ordered  that  all  letters 
found  in  his  house  after  his  death  were  to  be  destroyed 
without  reservation.  But  Dr.  Josef  Reitze,  of  Vienna, 
who  became  his  executor,  concluded  that  the  will  had 
been  drawn  up  in  a  moment  of  irritation,  and  was 
not  to  be  taken  too  literally.  He  therefore  made  a 
distinction,  in  sorting  out  the  papers,  between  those 
of  public  interest  and  those  of  a  private  nature,  placing 
the  decision  as  to  the  advisability  of  publishing  the 
present  correspondence  in  the  hands  of  Dr.  Adolf 
Wach,  of  Leipzig,  who  had  been  an  intimate  friend 
of  the  three  people  concerned.  Fraulein  Helene 
Hauptmann,  the  possessor  of  the  original  letters  from 
Brahms  to  the  two  Herzogenbergs,  came  forward  with 
eagerness  to  help  with  the  work ;  and  thanks  are  also 
due  to  Herr  Edmund  Astor,  Herzogenberg's  Leipzig 
publisher,  Herr  Heinrich  Buck,  librarian  to  H.R.H. 
the  Duke  of  Cumberland  at  Gmunden,  Professor 
Julius  Epstein,  Frau  Bertha  Faber  and  Dr.  Eusebius 
Mandyczewski,  keeper  of  the  archives  of  the  Gesell- 
schaft  der  Musikfreunde  in  Vienna. 

The  dates  of  the  letters,  when  supplied  by  the 
editor,  have  been  set  in  square  brackets.  Brahms 
seldom  dated  his  letters,  and  the  postmarks  or,  failing 
these,  the  contents  of  the  letters  had  to  be  consulted. 

H.  B. 


CONTENTS 


Portrait  of  Brahms         

...  Frontispiece 

Preface  



V 

NO. 

LETTER. 

DATE. 

I. 

Heinrich      von     Herzogenberg     to 

Johannes  Brahms 

Aug.  I,  1876 

I 

2. 

Elisabet  von  Herzogenbergto  Brahms 

Aug.  I,  1876 

4 

3- 

Brahms  to  the  Herzogenbergs 

Aug.  20,  1876 

6 

4- 

Brahms  to  the  Herzogenbergs 

Dec.  1876  ... 

8 

5- 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms       

Jan.  3,  1877 

9 

6. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Jan.  23,  1877 

10 

7- 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Jan.  29,  1877 

12 

8. 

Brahms  to  the  Herzogenbergs 

Jan.  1877  ... 

.       14 

9- 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Feb.  15,  1877 

•       15 

lO. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Apr.  23,  1877 

..      17 

II. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Apr.  23,  1877       . 

.       18 

12. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Apr.  27,  1877 

.      18 

13- 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       

Apr.  29,  1877 

22 

14. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

May  5,  1877 

22 

15- 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Nov.  13,  1877 

■      24 

16. 

EHsabet  to  Brahms      

Nov.  15,  1877 

•      25 

17. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Nov.  22,  1877 

•      27 

18. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Dec.  3,  1877 

.      28 

19. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Dec.  12,  1877 

•      30 

20. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       

Dec.  13,  1877 

.      31 

^21. 

The  Herzogenbergs  to  Brahms 

Dec.  16,  1877 

•      32 

22. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Dec.  26,  1877 

•      34 

23- 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Dec.  29,  1877 

•      35 

24. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Jan.  16,  1878 

.      36 

25. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       

Jan.  18,  1878 

•      37 

26. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Jan.  19,  1878 

•      39 

27. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Jan.  31,  1878 

•      41 

28. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Feb.  3,  1878 

•      42 

29. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Feb.  5,  1878 

•      44 

30. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Feb.  19,  1878 

.      46 

xni 


XIV 


CONTENTS 


NO. 

LETTER. 

DATE. 

PAGE 

31. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Mar.  I,  1878 

•      47 

32. 

Blisabet  to  Brahms       

Mar.  10,  1878      . 

•      49 

33. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Mar.  13,  1878 

••      52 

34. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Mar.,  1878 

••      53 

35- 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Apr.  2>,  1^1^ 

..      54 

36. 

Blisabet  to  Brahms       

Apr.  9,  1878 

•  .      54 

37. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

May  13,  1878 

.      56 

38. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

May  17,  1878 

••      57 

39- 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Aug.  10,  1878 

••      59 

40. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Atig.  12,  1878 

..      60 

41. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Aug.  15,  1878      . 

..      61 

42. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Sept.  7,  1878 

..      62 

43. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Sept.  12,  1878      . 

..      63 

44. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Sept.  14,  1878 

..      65 

45- 

The  Herzogenbergs  to  Brahms 

Oct.  4,  1878 

66 

46. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Oct.  18,  1878 

.      67 

47. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Nov.  17,  1878 

.      68 

48. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Nov.,  1878 

.      69 

49. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Dec.  13,  1878 

•      69 

50. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Dec.  15,  1878 

•      71 

51. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Dec.  15,  1878 

•      73 

52. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Dec.  21,  1878 

•      74 

53- 

The  Herzogenbergs  to  Brahms 

Dec.  23,  1878 

•      75 

54. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Dec.  29,  1878 

.      76 

55. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Jan.,  1879  ... 

.      76 

56. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Apr.  13,  1879       ■• 

.      78 

57. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Apr.  15,  1879       . 

•      79 

58. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Apr.  21,  1879 

.      79 

59- 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Apr.  29,  1879 

.      82 

60. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

May  6,  1879 

.      84 

61. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

July  2^,  1879 

.      85 

62. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

July  2,1,  1879 

.      86 

63. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Aug.  2.  1879 

.      87 

64. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Nov.  24,  1879 

.      87 

65. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Nov.,  1879 

•      90 

66. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Nov.  28,  1879 

92 

67. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Dec.  I,  1879 

•      93 

68. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Feb.  4,  1880 

•      94 

69. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Feb.  14,  1880 

•      97 

70. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

— 

98 

71- 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

May  2,,  1880 

•      99 

72. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

July  II,  1880 

.     102 

73- 

Brahms  to  Elisabet        

July  14,  1880 

.     105 

74. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

July  23,  1880 

.     106 

75. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Nov.  25,  1880 

.     no 

76. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Nov.  26,  1880 

.     Ill 

CONTENTS 


XV 


NO. 

LETTER. 

DATE. 

PAGE 

77. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Dec.  14,  1880 

112 

78. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Dec.  24,  1880 

114 

79- 

Blisabet  to  Brahms       

Dec.  28,  1880 

,        114 

80. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Jan.,  1881 

,        117 

81. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Feb.,  1881 

.        119 

82. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Feb.  24,  1881 

,        120 

83. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Mar.  2,  1881 

.       122 

84. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

B'lar.  6,  1881 

,       122 

85. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Mar.  27,  1881 

.       124 

86. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Apr.,  1881 

.       128 

87. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

July  z^  1881 

.       129 

88. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

//^/jj/ 5,  1881 

•       133 

89. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

July*],  1881 

.       133 

90. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

July  10,  t88i 

•       134 

91. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Oct.  I,  1881 

.       136 

92. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Oct.,  1881 

.       137 

93- 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Oct.  28-29,  1881    .. 

.       137 

94. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Nov.  2,  1881 

.       141 

95. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Nov.  14,  1881 

.       142 

96. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Nov.  14,  1881 

•       144 

97. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Nov.,  1881 

•       145 

98. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Nov.  18,  1881      .. 

.       146 

99. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Dec.  26,  1881 

,.       146 

100. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Jan.  3,  1882 

..       147 

lOI. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Mar.  II,  1882 

..       148 

102. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Mar.  13,  1882 

..       149 

103. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Mar.  15,  1882 

,.       149 

104. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Mar.  18,  1882      . 

..       153 

105. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Mar.  21,  1882 

..       153 

106. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Mar.  25,  1882 

..       154 

107. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Apr.  6,  1882 

..       155 

108. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

Apr.,  1882 

..       157 

109. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms      

Apr.  26,  1882 

..       157 

no. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

May  15,  1882 

..       159 

III. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Bfay  18,  1882 

..       160 

112. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

July  13,  1882 

..       161 

113- 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

July  24,  1882 

..       163 

114. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

July  1'^,  T882 

..       167 

115. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

Aug.  6,  1882 

..       167 

116. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

AiLg.  8,  1882 

••       173 

117. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet       

[Autumn,  1882]  . 

-       175 

118. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Dec.  29,  1882 

..       175 

119. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

Apr.  15,  1883       . 

..       176 

120. 

Elisabet  to  Brahms       

May^,  1883 

...       176 

121. 

Brahms  to  Elisabet      

May^,  1883 

..       179 

122. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

May  20,  1883 

,..       180 

xvi  CONTENTS 

NO.                                                       LETTER.                                                                           DATE.  PAGE 

123.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms       Oct.  1,1883  •••     i^o 

124.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       C^/.  3,  1883  ...     182 

125.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Nov.  24,  1883  ...     182 

126.  Brahms  to  Elisabet       iVbz^.  29,  1883  ...     185 

127.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Z?^<r.  21,  1883  ...     186 

128.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       y««.  6,  1884  ...     187 

129.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       Jan.  11,  1884  ...     190 

130.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms       /a«.  14,  1884  ...     190 

131.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Feb.  11,  i^^J^  ...     192 

132.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms       Mar.  24,  1S84.  ...     193 

133.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       Mar.  28,  1884  ...     194 

134.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       ^/r.  10,  1884  ...     195 

135.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Apr.  24,  1884  ...     197 

136.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms       Apr.  25,  1884  ...     198 

137.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      May  s,  1884  ...     200 

138.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      May  8,  1884  ...     201 

139.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       Sept.  13,  1884  ...     202 

140.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Oct.,  1884 205 

141.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       C><:^.  21,  1884  ...     205 

142.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       Oct.  25,  1884  ...     206 

143.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Oct.  26,  1884  ...     206 

144.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       iVi^z;.  18,  1884  ...     208 

145.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       A^^z;.  21,  1S84  ...     208 

146.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       Z>^^.  i,  1884  ...     209 

147.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       Z:>^^.  4,  1884  ...     210 

148.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Z?^^.  29,  1884  ...     212 

149.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Jan.,  1885 214 

150.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Jan.  5,  1885  ...     215 

151.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Jan.  11,  1885  ...     217 

152.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Jan.  12,  1885  ...     220 

153.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Jan.  14,  1885  ...     221 

154.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       Fed.  13,  1885  ...     222 

155.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Apr.  25,  1885  ...     224 

156.  Brahms  to  the  Herzogenbergs         ...  May  6,  1885  •••     225 

157.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      May  ly,  1885  ...     226 

158.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       May  21  and  22, 1885    226 

159.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      A/ay  24,  188$  ...     232 

160.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      May  28,  1885  ...     232 

t6i.     Elisabet  to  Brahms      June  3,  1885  ...     233 

162.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      June  6,  1885  ...     236 

163.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Aug:  y,  188^  ...     237 

164.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      y^«^.  29,  1885  ...     238 

165.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       6"^//.  i,  1885  ...     239 

166.  Brahms  to  Elisabet       Sept.  4,  i88s  ...     240 

167.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       5"^//.  6,  1885  ...     240 

168.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       5^^A  30,  1S85  ...     242 


CONTENTS  xvii 

NO.                                                        LETTER.                                                                           DATE.  PAGE 

169.  Klisabet  to  Brahms      Sept.  31,  1885  ...     243 

170.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      0^^.3,1885  ...     251 

171.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Oct.  10,  1885  ...     252 

172.  Brahms  to  Herzogeuberg       O^/.,  1885 253 

173.  Elisabet  to  Herzogenberg      Or/.  20,  1885  ...     254 

174.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      (9rA  22,  1885  ...     258 

175.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       Oct.  2/^,  \2>%^  ...     259 

176.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       0^^.30,1885  ...     260 

177.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms       —  266 

178.  Elisabet  to  Brahms       A^(9z;.  4,  1885  ...     267 

179.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       Nov.  ^,  1885  ...     269 

r8o.     Elisabet  to  Brahms       Z?^^.  2,  1885  ...     270 

181.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Z>i?<:.  5,  1885  ...     273 

182.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Jan.  i,  1S86  ...     275 

183.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Feb. '^,  1886  ...     275 

184.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      i^?^.  7,  1886  ...     280 

185.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       Feb.  24,  1886  ...     280 

186.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      /v<^.  26,  1886  ...     281 

187.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      /^^d.  28,  1886  ...     284 

188.  Elisabet  to  Brahms        .Mzr.  12,  1886  ...     285 

189.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       O^/.,  1886 286 

190.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms       0^^.26,1886  ...     287 

191.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       O^A  28,  1886  ...     289 

192.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Dec.  2,  1886  ...    289 

193.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Dec.  22,  1886  ...     293 

194.  Eli.sabet  to  Brahms      /)ec.  28,  1S86  ...    295 

195.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Dec.  s^,  1886  ...    297 

196.  Elisabet  to  Brahms        Z?^^.  31,  1886  ...     297 

197.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Jan.8,  1887  ...     299 

198.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      yia:^.  9  and  10,  1887     299 

199.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms       Jan.  %  188^  ...     302 

200.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      y<a;«.  15,  1887  ...     305 

20T.     Elisabet  to  Brahms       Ma7'.  i,  1887  ...     306 

202.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Mar.,  188^  ...    308 

203.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg       Apr.,  188^  ...     310 

204.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      May  16,  188"]  ...    311 

205.  Brahms  to  Elisabet       May  26,  188"]  ...     313 

206.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      July  20,  188^  ...    314 

207.  Brahms  to  Elisabet       July  22,,  188"]  ...     317 

208.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      July  2"] ,  188^  ...     317 

209.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg      Sept.  2$,  l8>8^  ..    320 

210.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Oct.  15,  1887  ...     320 

211.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Oct.  18,  188^  ...    330 

212.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Nov.  ^,  1887  ...    322 

213.  Brahms  to  Elisabet      Dec.  16,  188"]  ...     322 

214.  Elisabet  to  Brahms      Dec.  2,0,  188"]  ...    323 


XVlll 


CONTENTS 


NO.  LETTER. 

215.  Brahms  to  Elisabet 

216.  Brahms  to  Elisabet 

217.  Brahms  to  Elisabet 

218.  Elisabet  to  Brahms 


219. 

220. 

221. 

222. 

223. 

224. 

225. 

226. 

227. 

228. 

229. 

230. 

231. 

232. 

233- 

234. 

235. 

236. 

237- 
238. 

239- 

240. 

241. 

242. 

243- 

244- 

245. 

246. 

247. 

248. 

249. 

250. 

251- 
252. 

253- 
254. 

255. 
256. 

257' 
258. 

259' 


Brahms  to  Elisabet 
Elisabet  to  Brahms 
Brahms  to  Elisabet 
Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Elisabet  to  Brahms 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Brahms  to  Elisabet 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 
Elisabet  to  Brahms 
Brahms  to  Elisabet 
Elisabet  to  Brahms 
Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 
Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 
Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 
Elisabet  to  Brahms 
Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 
Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 
Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 
Elisabet  to  Brahms 
Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 
Brahms  to  Elisabet 
Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 
Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 


DATE.  PAGE 

Feb.,  1888 325 

Feb.  15,  1888  ...    326 

Mar.,  1888  ...    326 
Feb.  16  to  Mar.  9, 

1888      327 

Mar.  II,  1888  ...  335 

Mar.  25,  1888  ...  336 

Mar.,   1888  ...  338 

Mar.  28,  1888  ...  339 

Apr.  22,  1888  ...  342 

June'^,  1888  ...  343 

June  12,  1888  ...  343 

Sept.,  1888  ...  344 

Sept.  22,  1888  ...  345 

Oct.,  1888 346 

Oct.,  1888 347 

Oct.  13,  1888  ...  348 

Oct.  21,  1888  ...  351 

Oct.  28,  1888  ...  352 

Oct.  30,  1 888  ...  360 

Nov.  3,  1888  ...  364 

Nov.  6,  1888  ...  364 

Nov.  6,  1888  ...  366 

Nov.  8,  1888  ...  367 

Nov.  10,  1888  ...  369 

Nov.  10,  1888  ...  370 

Oct.  14,  18S8  ...  372 

May  14,  1889  ...  373 

May  23,  1889  ...  376 

June  2'^,  1889  ...  377 

/w/jV  29.  1889  ...  377 

Dec.  26,  1889  ...  378 

Dec.  29,  1889  ...  379 

Mar.   17,  1890  ..,  379 

May  23,  1890  ...  382 

JimeS,  1890  ...  383 

June  14,  1890  ...  385 

Oct.  9,  1890  ...  386 

Oct.  27,  1890  ...  390 

Oct.  31,  1890  ...  391 

Dec,  1890  ...  392 

Dec.  16,  1890  ...  393 

Jan.  10,  1891  ...  397 

Feb.,   1891 397 

Feb.  28,  1 89 1  ...  398 

Apr.  29,  1 89 1  ...  400 


CONTENTS  xix 


NO. 

LETTER. 

DATE. 

PAG 

260. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Apr.  30,  1 891 

..        401 

261. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

May  2,  1891 

..        402 

262. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

May  10,  1891 

..        402 

263. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Jan.,  1892  ... 

..        403 

264. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Fed.  2,  1892 

..        404 

265. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

3far.  6,  1892 

..        405 

266. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

3far.  19,  1892 

..        405 

267. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Mar.  12,  1892 

...        406 

268. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

3Iar.  21,  1892 

...        407 

269. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Apr.  5,  iSgs 

...        409 

270. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Fed.  14,  1894 

...        410 

271. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Fed.  14,  1894 

,.          411 

272. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Fed.  22,  1894 

...        412 

273- 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Jan.  30,  1895 

...        412 

274. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Aug.  8,  1895 

...        413 

275. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Aug.  II,  1895 

...        414 

276. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

June,  1896... 

...        415 

277. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

July  I,  1896 

...        416 

278. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

July  15,  1896 

...        417 

279. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

July  21,  1896 

...        418 

280. 

Brahms  to  Herzogenberg 

Sept.  15,  1896 

...        418 

281. 

Herzogenberg  to  Brahms 

Mar.  26,  1897 

...        418 

JOHANNES    BRAHMS 

THE  HERZOGENBERG  CORRESPONDENCE 

I.  Heinrich  von  Hersogenberg  to  Johannes  Brahms. 

AussEE,  August  I,  1876. 

My  dear  Herr  Brahms, — I  am  sending  you  what  I 
believe  to  be  the  first  set  of  variations*  ever  written 
on  a  Brahms  theme,  thereby  providing  you  with  the 
nucleus  of  a  collection  of  curios.  To  be  first,  for  once, 
in  anything  was  a  great  temptation,  apart  from  that 
offered  by  your  glorious  theme.  I  have  by  no  means 
exhausted  its  possibilities  in  my  treatment,  of  which 
you  will  not,  I  hope,  entirely  disapprove. 

I  was  unable  to  ascertain  before  leaving  Leipzig 
whether  you  had  finally  decided  to  incorporate  your 
arrangement  of  the  cantata,  Christ  lag  in  Todesbanden^ 
in  our  Bach-Verein  publications.  We  should  be 
delighted  if  you  had  leisure  and  inclination  for  it.f 
You  know  we  have  the  whole  pack  at  our  heels, 

*  Herzogenberg  published  his  Variations  on  a  Theme  of  Johannes 
Brahms  for  Pianoforte  (two  performers),  as  Op.  23,  through  Rieter- 
Biedermann.  The  theme  is  that  of  the  song  Mei  Mutter  mag  mi  net, 
from  Op.  7. 

t  The  Leipzig  Bach-Verein,  instituted  in  1874  by  Von  Herzogen- 
berg, Phihpp  Spitta,  Franz  von  Holstein,  and  Alfred  Volkland, 
published,  through  Rieter-Biedermann,  pianoforte  scores,  with  a 
supplementary  organ  part,  of  Bach's  sacred  cantatas.  For  these 
adaptations,  Volkland,  Herzogenberg  and  Wiillner  were  responsible. 

I 


2  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

and  the  closer  we  stick  together,  the  sooner  shall  we 
silence  them.*  Also,  if  they  still  insist  on  dubbing 
Spitta  an  amateur,!  and  VolklandJ  and  myself  in- 
capable enthusiasts,  we  could  flourish  your  name  in 
their  faces.  I  would  most  willingly  spare  you  the 
trouble  of  the  pianoforte  arrangement, §  and  submit  it 
Lo  you  when  finished. 

I  am  happily  occupied  in  arranging  the  glorious 
Mass  in  F  for  our  next  concert.  Last  winter  Volkland 
undertook  the  far  from  easy  task  of  writing  an  organ 
part  for  the  St.  Matthew  Passion-music.  If  only  a  good 
number  of  choral  societies  will  take  up  the  matter,  we 
really  hope  to  look  back  on  some  abiding  results  in 
the  not  too-distant  future,  always  provided  the  firm  of 
Rieter-Biedermann  be  not  forced  to  bring  the  pubhca- 
tion  to  an  untimely  end  !  If  only  our  method  obtains 
recognition,  the  rest  of  the  enterprise  does  not  matter. 

*  Refers  to  a  heated  argument  on  the  treatment  of  accompaniments 
to  older  choral  works  which  was  being  carried  on  at  the  time  between 
Robert  Franz  (Julius  Schaeffer),  Friedrich  Chrysander,  Spitta, 
Hermann  Kretzschmar,  and  others,  through  the  medium  of  news- 
paper articles  and  pamphlets. 

-f  Philipp  Spitta  (1841-1894),  noted  Bach  biographer,  was  until 
1875  Professor  at  the  Nicolai  Gymnasium,  Leipzig.  He  was  then 
appointed  Professor  of  Musical  History  at  Berlin  University. 

%  Alfred  Volkland  (1841-1905),  Director  of  Music  at  Basel,  holding 
an  honorary  degree  from  the  University,  was  conductor  of  the 
Euterpe  concerts  at  Leipzig  until  1875. 

§  The  arrangement  of  the  cantata  referred  to  was  written  by 
Brahms  at  the  time  when  he  conducted  the  Gesellschaft  der  Musik- 
freunde  concerts  in  Vienna.  He  produced  it  there  on  March  23, 
1873,  as  a  novelty  for  the  Viennese  public,  but  did  not  claim  the 
credit  of  the  arrangement.  Georg  Henschel  writes  in  his  diary  at 
Riigen  in  1876 :  '  Brahms  had  the  two  first  numbers  of  the  Bach- 
Verein's  edition  of  the  cantatas  beside  him,  and  pointed  out  to  me 
the  unpractical  setting.  "A  pianoforte  score  should  be  playable — 
written  to  suit  the  instrument,"  he  said.  "  This  is  far  more  important 
than  a  strictly  correct  leading  of  all  the  parts." ' 


THE  BACH-VEREIN  3 

We  lead  a  quiet,  happy  life  here,  out  of  reach  of 
even  the  musical  papers,  with  their  reports  from  Bay- 
reuth.*  I  hope  the  island  of  Rtigen  enjoys  similar 
geographical  advantages,  and  that  Simrockf  will 
shortly  send  us  a  voluminous  package.  J 

When  you  open  my  roll  of  music,  you  will  think  for 
the  moment  that  you  see  one  of  your  own — strangely 
unfamiliar — compositions  !  Our  good  Astor§  obviously 
accepted  the  piece  with  the  sole  malicious  intent  of 
frightening  Simrock  out  of  his  wits  with  the  title-page. 
Of  course  it  sells  all  the  better  to  the  shortsighted 
visitors  at  Fair-time,  ||  for  they  lose  their  heads  so 
completely  at  the  sight  of  Johannes  Brahms,  printed 
large,  that  the  little  notice  underneath  quite  escapes 
them.  It  amuses  me,  of  course ;  Astor  too,  I  hope  ; 
so  please  take  it  as  a  joke  yourself.  But  on  reflecting 
that  you  will  probably  glance  inside,  I  cease  to  be 
amused — while  for  you  the  fun  begins,  possibly? 

With  this  grave  query  let  me  close,  throwing  myself 
on  your  mercy. — Believe  me,  yours  very  sincerely, 

Heinrich  Herzogenberg. 

*  The  first  performance  of  Wagner's  Nibelungen-Ring  was  held 
at  Bayreuth  in  the  summer  of  1876. 

f  Fritz  Simrock  (1837-1901),  Brahms's  principal  publisher. 

%  Brahms  went  to  the  island  of  Riigen  on  June  15,  settling  in  the 
village  of  Sassnitz,  where  he  put  the  finishing  touches  to  his  Symphony 
in  C  minor. 

§  Edmund  Astor,  music  publisher  in  Leipzig,  son-in-law  of 
J.  Melchior  Rieter-Biedermann,  after  whose  death  in  1876  he  became 
head  of  the  Winterthur  firm,  founded  in  1849. 

II  The  fairs,  which  are  held  three  times  yearly  at  Leipzig,  still 
attract  such  a  number  of  strangers  to  the  town  that  the  better  hotels 
double  their  prices  during  those  periods.  There  is  usually  a  large 
proportion  of  undesirables  among  the  '  Fair  visitors '  (Afessfremdc), 
and  the  designation  is  used  somewhat  contemptuously. — Tr. 


I — 2 


4  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

2.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Johannes  Brahms. 

AussEE,  August  I,  1876.* 

Dear  Herr  Brahms, — Our  friend  Bertha t  assures 
me  that  you  sent  us  kind  messages,  and  expressed, 
at  the  same  time,  a  wish  to  see  Heinrich's  Variations 
on  a  Theme  by  Brahms.  I  am  only  too  delighted 
to  believe  both  her  assertions.  Heinrich  did  not 
want  to  bother  you  with  the  variations,  thinking 
you  must  be  so  glad  to  hear  nothing  but  the 
roar  of  the  ocean  and  the  lapping  of  the  waves, 
that  even  printed,  silent  music  must  be  unwelcome 
in  your  chosen  solitary  retreat.  But  your  kindness  in 
expressing  the  wish  alters  the  case.  I  hope  you  will 
not  entirely  disapprove  of  the  piece,  but  if  it  should 
have  the  misfortune  to  displease  you,  do  not  hesitate 
to  say  so.  For  '  as  the  hart  panteth  after  the  water- 
brooks,'  so  panteth  Heinrich  after  honest  criticism, 
be  it  condemnatory  or  flattering. 

I  hope  you  are  keeping  real,  real  well  at  Sassnitz, 
both  for  your  sake  and  for  ours ;  for  the  better  you 
feel  the  more  work  you  will  do,  and  we  obviously 
stand  to  gain  by  your  diligence. 

I  remember  hearing  that,  at  Sassnitz,  they  give  you 
nothing  to  eat  but  pale  grey  beef  and  indescribable, 
wobbly  puddings,  made  of  starch  and  vanilla.  But 
you,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  are  indifferent  to  such  things,  t 

*  It  is  evident  that  the  Herzogenbergs  wrote  on  the  same  day, 
unknown  to  each  other,  each  sending  Brahms  a  copy  of  the  work. 

f  Frau  Bertha  Faber,  of  Vienna,  daughter  of  an  evangeHcal  pastor, 
Dr.  Gustav  Porubszky,  and  wife  of  Arthur  Faber,  had  been  a  friend 
of  Brahms  since  the  time  of  the  Hamburg  Women's  Choral  Society 
(1859-1861). 

%  The  writer  permits  herself  a  little  irony  here,  as  Brahms  was 
known  to  be  anything  but  indifferent  to  what  he  ate. 


AT  SASSNITZ  5 

The  person  who  told  me  her  own  bitter  experiences 
was  reduced  to  living  on  eggs,  which  she  boiled  or 
fried  in  the  privacy  of  her  own  room.  I  tell  you 
this  so  that  you  may  adopt  the  same  measure  if 
driven  to  extremes.  We  are  better  off  here.  There 
is  char  and  salmon  in  plenty — though  the  prices  are  so 
exorbitant  that  we  never  have  either ;  on  the  other 
hand,  cutlets  and  bacon-cakes  are  within  our  reach. 
Best  of  all,  a  certain  B.  F.  of  Vienna,"^  not  unknown  to 
you,  sometimes  sends  us  a  wonderful  meat-pudding 
for  supper,  and  every  time  we  go  to  see  her  she  stuffs 
us  with  the  unrivalled  Aussee  brand  of  Lchkuchen.\ 
I  go  very  often  in  consequence,  and  we  chatter,  as 
only  women  can,  about  a  thousand  and  one  nothings. 
I  feel  hke  an  old  woman  beside  Bertha,  but  we  get  on 
splendidly  all  the  same. 

The  poor  woman  has  suffered  much  just  now  in  the 
sudden  death  of  her  father  J — a  man  as  exceptional  in 
the  parental  relationship  as  in  every  other  respect ; 
but  she  bears  up  bravely  for  her  mother's  sake,  and 
devotes  herself  wholly  to  the  task  of  consolation. 

But  how  do  I  come  to  be  writing  you  such  a  long 
letter?  I  hope  you  will  not  think  it  a  liberty.  If  you 
do,  please  lay  the  blame  on  Bertha. 

Last  of  all,  let  me  ask  if  the  idea  of  visiting  Leipzig 
again  ever  crosses  your  mind  ?  You  did  not  have 
such  a  bad  time  before,  and  you  know  how  many 
devoted  friends  you  have  here  in  spite  of  all  the 
Philistines — bother  them  ! 

In  case  you  do  come  again,  I  have  a  real  favour  to 
ask :  that  you  should  stop  at  the  Herzogenbergs' 
instead  of  at  Hotel  Hauffe.     I  promise  you  a  bed  at 

*  Fr^u  Bertha  Faber.  f  A  rich  spiced  gingerbread. — Tr. 

X  On  July  17,  1876. 


6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

least  as  good,  much  better  coffee,  no  very  large  room 

but   two  decent-sized   ones,  a   silken  bed-cover,  any 

number  of  ash-trays,  and,  above  all,  peace  and  quiet ; 

while,  as  a  set-off  against  the  gilt  and  stucco  and  all 

the   glories   of  the    Hauffe   establishment,  we  would 

make  you    real   comfortable,   refrain   from   worrying 

you,   and   only  make  you  realize  the  great  pleasure 

you   were   giving   us.     Think   it   over !     We   live   in 

Humboldtstrasse    now,   exactly   behind    Legationsrat 

Keil — so  nice  and  convenient  for  you  when  you  pay 

your  visits  to  the  Gewandhaus  directors.* 

But  I  must  close,  and  that  quickly.     Good-bye,  dear 

Herr   Brahms.      Give    a    kindly   thought   once   in   a 

way  to 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


3.  Brahms  to  Heinrich  and  Elisabet  von 
Herzogenberg. 

Hamburg,  August  20,  1876. 

My  dear  Friends, — Most  sincerely  do  I  thank  you 
for  the  gift,  I  might  almost  say  the  advertisement,  of 
your  Variations.  It  is  really  most  gratifying  to  find  a 
song  of  one's  own  absorbing  another  person's  thoughts 
so  effectually.  You  must  have  some  affection  for  the 
melody  you  choose  for  a  theme,  I  take  it,  and  in  your 
case  the  affection  was  probably  shared  by  two. 

But  forgive  me  if  my  thanks  begin,  and  my  critical 
remarks  end,  sooner  than  you  would  like.  How  can  I 
be  disinterested,  when,  as  I  open  the  duet  and  play  it 
in  imagination,  I  have  a  distinct  vision  of  a  slender, 

*  Brahms  was  known  to  detest  ceremony  in  any  form,  and  probably 
never  paid  a  duty  call  in  his  life. 


THE  VARIATION  FORM  7 

golden-haired  figure  in  blue  velvet  seated  on  my 
right  ?* 

If  I  say  any  more  I  shall  offend  one  or  other  of  you. 

But  I  will  really  make  a  point  of  playing  the  varia- 
tions. Nothing  is  worse  to  read  than  a  duet  when  the 
music  is  at  all  complicated.  Then,  when  I  have  the 
pleasure  of  a  chat  with  you  again,  should  I  have  any- 
thing but  praise  to  bestow,  I  will  let  you  have  my 
valuable  opinion  beforehand  to  bring  you  into  the  right 
frame  of  mind  !t  I  might  have  something  to  say  on  the 
subject  of  variations  in  general.  For  instance,  I  could 
wish  people  would  distinguish  variations  irom.  fantasia- 
variationSj  or  whatever  we  may  choose  to  call  the 
greater  number  of  modern  writings  in  this  form.  I 
have  a  peculiar  affection  for  the  variation  form,  and 
consider  that  it  offers  great  scope  to  our  talents  and 
energies. 

Beethoven  treats  it  with  extraordinary  severity, 
and  rightly  calls  his  variations  '  alterations.' t  All  the 
later  ones  by  Schumann,  H.,  or  Nottebohm§  are  very 
different.  I  am,  of  course,  objecting  neither  to  the 
form  nor  the  music.  I  only  wish  for  some  distinction 
in  the  name  to  denote  the  distinctive  character  of  each. 

If  I  could  enclose  a  few  Sassnitz  menus,  your  wife 
would  be  filled  with  surprise  and  envy !     We  suffered 

*  Brahms  had  often  played  duets  with  Frau  von  Herzogenberg 
during  his  previous  stay  at  Leipzig. 

f  Herzogenberg's  work  did  not  altogether  please  him. 

X  33  Veriinderungcn  iiber  eincn  Walzer  von  A.  Diabelli,  Op.  120. 

§  Gustav  Nottebohm  (1817-1882),  a  scholarly  musician  in  Vienna, 
compiler  of  the  thematic  catalogues  of  Beethoven's  and  Schubert's 
works,  and  author  of  Beethoveniana  and  Neue  Beethoveniana,  was  held 
in  great  respect  by  Brahms  for  his  wide  historical  and  theoretical 
knowledge.  The  reference  is  to  Nottebohm's  Pianoforte  Variations 
on  a  Theme  by  Bach,  which  Brahms  had  often  played  with  the 
composer. 


8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

nothing  on  that  score,  and  pianos  were  all  too 
plentiful. 

I  am  not  drawn  to  an  arrangement  of  the  cantata ; 
it  is  so  very  difficult  to  adapt  Bach  for  the  pianoforte. 
Neither  can  I  solve  the  problem  :  Is  the  arrangement 
intended  for  practical  use  in  choral  practices,  etc.,  or 
for  clever  amateurs  ?  Rieter's  attitude  with  regard 
to  Peters  *  is  incomprehensible  to  me. 

I  have  heard  of  the  charming  party  assembled  at 
Lucerne.  It  is  very  alluring.  You  will  have  heard, 
either  from  herself  or  from  Herr  Volkland,  with  what 
delight  Frau  Schumann  f  plays  your  Variations. 

Kindest  remembrances  to  you  both  and  to  your 
neighbours     of     Lebkttchen    fame.  —  Most     sincerely 

y^^^^'  JoH.  Brahms. 

4.  Brahms  to  the  Herzogenhergs. 

[Vienna]  December,  1876. 

My  very  dear  Friends, — I  am  thoroughly  ashamed 
of  my  clumsy  breach  of  manners.!  I  had  decided  I 
ought  not  to  presume  on  your  kindness,  yet  my  pen 
refused  to  write  *  no ';  and  now  your  kind  reminder 
quite  confuses  me. 

But  I  shall  arrive  very,  very  early,  and  shall  not  leave 
until  Saturday,  you  know.  Also  I  fear  your  wife  is 
counting  on  my  having  been  chastened  and  hardened 
at   Sassnitz,  whereas   the   true   conditions  of  Rugen 

*  Brahms  considered  that  Rieter-Biedermann's  edition  could  not 
be  profitable,  in  view  of  the  existing,  more  practicable,  Peter's  edition. 
This  proved  to  be  the  case,  and  only  five  cantatas  were  issued  by 
Rieter. 

t  Clara  Schumann  (1819-1896),  wife  of  the  composer  and  famous 
pianist,  whose  Close  friendship  with  Brahms  dated  from  1853. 

J  He  had  not  replied  to  their  invitation. 


THE  FIRST  SYMPHONY  9 

are  quite  unknown  to  her.  However,  absit  omen  ! 
Three  days  before  the  concert  I  begin  to  perspire 
and  drink  camomile  tea;  after  the  fiasco  (at  the 
Gewandhaus)  attempts  at  suicide,  and  so  on.  You 
shall  see  the  lengths  to  which  an  exasperated  com- 
poser will  go ! 

But  forgive  this  nonsense.  I  have  written  too  many 
letters  to-day.  My  best  thanks,  and  please  send  me  a 
card  with  your  number — in  case  ! — Sincerely  yours, 
in  haste,  j    Brahms. 

5.  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  January  3,  1877. 

My  dear  Herr  Brahms, — We  gathered  from  your 
letter,  to  our  great  joy,  that  you  mean  to  try  staying 
with  us.  You  will  at  least  be  cosier  and  quieter  in  our 
well-guarded  house,  Humboldtstrasse  24,  2nd  floor, 
than  in  any  one  of  the  hotels  full  of  Fair  visitors. 
Your  rooms  are  so  situated  that  you  can  easily  refuse 
to  receive,  not  only  strangers,  should  their  visits  be 
inopportune,  but  also  ourselves ;  we  beg  you  won't 
use  this  privilege  too  freely  with  respect  to  the  latter, 
though.  Please  let  us  have  a  card  with  the  date  and 
hour  of  your  arrival,  and  to  say  which  way  you  are 
coming — by  Dresden  or  Eger.  When  will  Simrock 
publish  the  symphony  ?     Before  the  concert,  I  hope.* 

*  Symphony  No.  i  in  C  minor,  Op.  68,  published  by  Simrock  in 
1877.  Brahms  arrived  on  January  14  for  the  final  rehearsals  of  the 
symphony,  which  he  conducted  himself  at  the  Gewandhaus  on 
January  18.  It  was  very  favourably  received.  On  the  same  occasion 
he  conducted  his  orchestral  Variaiions  on  a  Theme  of  Haydn,  and 
accompanied  some  of  his  own  songs  sung  by  Georg  Henschel.  Two 
days  later  he  played  the  piano  part  of  his  Quartet  in  C  minor,  Op.  60, 
at  the  Gewandhaus  Chamber-music  Concert. 


lo  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Please  come  as  soon  as  possible  (at  once,  if  you  like) 
and  stay  as  long  as  possible. 

If  Frau  Schumann  stays  with  her  friend,  Frau 
Lepoc  (Lepoque,  Lepock  ?),  or  with  Frau  Raimund 
Hartel,*  she  will  be  quite  near  us.  The  Fregest 
cannot  put  her  up  this  time;  we  have  discovered  that 
much. 

And  now  excuse  this  feeble  letter  and  this  superfine 
notepaper. — In  haste,  always  yours  sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 

6.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Johannes  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  January  23,  1877. 

My  dear  Friend, — It  is  really  quite  too  tragic ! 
But  that  is  always  the  way  when  you  count  too  much 
on  anything,  as  we  did.     Es  war  zu  schbn  gewesen^  es 

hat  nicht  sollen  sein.     %  is  probably  thinking  the 

same.  They  say,  by  the  way,  that  he  could  not 
face  the  terrific  strain  of  deciding  whether  the  finale 
led  to  heaven  or  hell. 

Our  first  breakfast  alone  yesterday  was  a  melancholy 
affair.  The  real  good  things  of  this  life  seem  so  much 
a  matter  of  course  when  we  have  them  that  we  feei 
unreasonably  aggrieved  when  they  are  withdrawn. 
But  we  are  grateful  by  moments,  too,  very  grateful, 
and  fully  appreciate  the  fact  that  you  were  here,  the 
manner  of  your  being  here,  and  the  way  you  had  of 

*  Wife  of  the  head  of  the  firm  Breitkopf  and  Hart  eh 

f  Dr.  Frege's  house  at  Leipzig  was  something  of  a  centre  for 

musicians  (Mendelssohn  and  Schumann  had  been  in  the  habit  of 

going  there).     His  wife  Livia  was  a  well-known  singer. 

%  A  certain  member  of  the  Gewandhaus  committee  had  protested 

volubly  against  the  proposed  repetition  of  the  ;symphony  at  an  early 

date. 


THE  FIRST  SYMPHONY  ii 

almost  seeming  to  enjoy  yourself  here.  That  consoles 
me  for  many  things.  I  am  only  too  conscious  of  the 
many  occasions  when  things  went  wrong.  The  con- 
viction rose  several  times  that  I  was  mad  to  ask  you 
to  come  at  all,  you  spoilt  creature,  with  your  mock- 
turtles,  your  Prater*  manners,  and  your  constitution 
ruined  by  every  conceivable  refinement  of  luxury. 
The  impossible  was  always  happening,  but  you  only 
smiled,  as  if  it  were  quite  possible,  and  so  relieved  all 
your  hostess's  fear  and  trembling.  Thank  you  for  that, 
you  dear  man,  and  for  everything  else.  Only  tell 
yourself  repeatedly  what  those  days  were  to  us,  for 
that  alone  can  give  you  pleasure  as  you  look  back, 
and  will  be  some  small  reward  for  all  the  pleasure 
you  gave  us. 

And  now  tell  me  just  this.  Could  you  not  go  to 
Berlin  now,  to  please  Frau  Schumann  and  others,  and 
rest  a  little  here  on  the  way  back?t  We  can't  con- 
ceive of  your  going  straight  home  to  Vienna,  and  are 
counting  so  firmly  on  your  passing  through  again,  by 
some  means,  that  your  rooms  are  still  untouched,  and 
Heinrich  does  his  writing  at  the  standing-desk  in  my 
room.  Minna  seems  possessed  of  the  same  idea,  or 
else  she  would  have  been  absorbed  in  a  grand  shifting 
and  cleaning  of  everything  available  by  now. 

And  now  good-bye.  Keep  what  is  called  a  kindly 
remembrance  of  us,  and  please  have  the  symphony 
printed  soon;  for  we  are  all  symphony-sick,  and  weary 
of  straining  to  grasp  the  beloved,  elusive  melodies. 

Kind  remembrances   from   our  adopted  daughter.l 

Keep  a  little  affection  for 

The  Faithful 

*  The  manners  of  the  Austrian  capital. — Tr. 

t  After  a  performance  of  the  symphony  at  Breslau. 

%  Mathilde  von  Hartenthal,  a  clever  amateur. 


12  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

7.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Johannes  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  January  29,  1877. 

Dear  Herr  Brahms, — As  Heinrich  is  buried  in 
some  work  which  must  be  finished,  and  as  you  were  so 
kind  as  to  ask  for  another  letter,  I  am  taking  up  my 
pen  in  his — Heinrich's — place.  Although  we  were 
more  or  less  prepared  for  the  news  on  your  card — how 
you  must  thank  Providence  for  this  invention  of  the 
post-office ! — it  depressed  us  all  the  same,  for  we  had 
cherished  some  hope  of  seeing  you  here  again.  It  was 
like  leaving  a  little  side-door  open,  through  which  you 
slipped  in  and  out  until  the  25th,  when  it  went  to  with 
a  bang.  Your  little  blue  room  was  invaded  by  a  horrid 
sewing-woman.  Heinrich  went  back  to  his  study,  and 
the  old,  dull  routine  set  in.  .  .  . 

Goldmark's  rusticities*  left  us  cheerfully  unmoved, 
but  pleased  the  general  public  very  much.  I  turned 
quite  faint  in  the  garden  scene,  and  was  frightened  to 
death  in  the  trombone  passage.  This  scene  was  called 
Bridal-Chorus  on  the  programme,  but  no  one  realized 
the  mistake ;  indeed,  the  critics  discussed  it  as  such. 
Goldmark  was  quite  satisfied  with  his  success,  at 
which  we  were  very  pleased.  One  can't  help  liking 
the  man. 

Before  I  stop — which  should  in  decency  be  soon,  for 
you  only  wanted  to  hear  about  Goldmark — I  want  to 
tell  you  three  things.  (After  a  week  spent  in  Leipzig, 
are  you  not  in  duty  bound  to  take  an  interest  in  the 
local   news  ?)     Well,    poor   old  Wehnerf   has   had   a 

*  Karl  Goldmark  (b.  1830),  Viennese  composer.  His  symphony 
A  Rustic  Wedding  was  produced  for  the  first  time  at  the  Gewandhaus 
on  January  25,  1877. 

f  Arnold  Wehncr,  formerly  Director  of  Music  at  Gottingen 
University,  and  Conductor  at  the  Schlosskirche,  Hanover,  was  one 


LEIPZIG  NEWS  13 

slight  stroke,  which  left  him  blind  in  one  eye.  The 
Brahms  week,  with  all  that  drinking,  did  the  mischief. 
He  took  cold,  had  indigestion,  congestion  of  the  blood, 
and  finally  this  eye  trouble.  Hard  lines,  isn't  it  ? 
The  poor  old  man  sits  in  a  darkened  room,  day  after 
day,  with  two  grey  tom-cats  for  sole  company,  who 
climb  up  in  turn  to  paw  his  face,  while  Pauline's 
shadow  hovers  about  him.  You  will  admit  that  this  is 
a  tragic  ending,  whatever  his  faults  may  have  been. 
My  second  item  of  bad  news  is  that  poor  old  Hartel* 
is  being  sent  to  Mentone  on  account  of  a  bronchial 
catarrh.  His  wife  is  quite  beside  herself,  and  goes 
with  him  to-morrow. 

My  third  has  probably  small  interest  for  you,  though 
all  the  more  for  me.  The  sketch  you  were  so  cruel  as 
to  tear  up  has  been  ingeniously  pasted  together,  and 
looks  all  the  more  imposing — ^just  like  an  old  sword, 
covered  with  honourable  scars,  but  quite  serviceable. 
Indeed,  I  like  it  more  than  ever,  now  that  I  can  feast 
my  eyes  on  it  again,  after  its — to  me — inexplicable 
disappearance.  Mathilde  helped  me  with  the  ban- 
daging, and  you  are  going  to  be  ironed  out  some  time 
to-day,  and  now  left  in  peace.t 

Good-bye.     Enjoy  yourself     Remember  us   to  all, 
and  don't  forget  your  less  fortunate  friends  for  those 
around  you  now.      Heinrich,  his  wife,  their  adopted 
daughter,  Paddock  t — all  send  greeting. 
Keep  just  a  little  affection  for  us,  I  beg.  j     tt 

of  Brahms's  silent  opponents.     He  had  at  first  been  very  well  dis- 
posed towards  him  when  at  Hanover  (see  Kalbeck,  Johannes  Brahms, 

i-  353)- 

*  Stadtrat  Raimund  Hartel. 

t  Mathilde  von  Hartcnthal  had  made  a  pencil  sketch  of  Brahms. 
%  The  dog. 


14  .  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

8.  Brahms  to  the  Herzogenhergs. 

[Vienna]  January^  1877. 

My  good  Friends, — It  just  happens  that  I  have  a 
sheet  of  paper  at  hand.  It  ought  to  be  rose-coloured 
for  shame,  and  ingratiating  as  an  angel ;  but,  unfortu- 
nately, neither  my  letter-paper  nor  my  face  can  look  as 
sweet  and  kind  as  Frau  Elisabet's — and  that  no 
matter  how  I  may  exert  myself.  Otherwise  I  would 
do  it  to-day ;  for  no  one  can  have  a  keener  desire  to 
say  real  nice  things. 

It  was  so  delightful  staying  with  you.  The  memory 
is  still  warm,  and  I  feel  I  want  to  keep  it  snugly 
buttoned  up  for  a  long  time. 

But  these  things  are  easier  to  express  in  music, 
and  I  therefore  present  this  paper  merely  out  of 
politeness  to  my  hostess  —  an  arm  to  take  her  in 
to  supper.  Afterwards  I  shall  choose  the  most  beau- 
tiful key  and  the  most  beautiful  poem  to  write  the 
continuation. 

So is  still  friendly,  in  spite  of  my  behaviour 

and  my  letter  ?  Very  bad  for  my  morals  !  A  little 
wholesome  severity  might  be  desirable  in  other 
quarters,  too. 

I  am  sorry  about  Wehner  and  Hartel.  .  .  . 

I  discovered  at  Breslau*  that  it  is  a  great  help  if 
someone  else  takes  my  first  rehearsal.  That  clever 
young  Buthsf  did  it  there  admirably.  I  had  only  to 
take  it  up  where  he  left  it,  and  it  went  splendidly. 
The   introduction   to  the  last  movement  was    quite 

*  Brahms  conducted  his  symphony  at  Bernhard  Scholz's  Breslau 
Orchestral  Concerts  on  January  23,  1877. 

•f  Julius  Buths  (b.  185 1),  afterwards  Director  at  Diisseldorf,  had 
conducted  the  rehearsal  in  place  of  Scholz,  who  was  ill. 


THE  FIRST  SYMPHONY  15 

different  from  the  Leipzig  performance — that  is,  just  as 
I  hke  it. 

If  you  see  Reinecke,*  you  might  recommend  Buths. 
He  is  a  very  good  pianist,  and  has  written  a  Concerto 
in  D  minor  which  is  well  worth  a  hearing,  even  at  the 
Gewandhaus. 

Would  you  be  so  very  kind  as  to  inquire  for  my  sym- 
phony at  Dr.  Kretzschmar's?t  I  have  not  his  address, 
and  he  did  not  go  to  Rostock  from  Leipzig.  However, 
he  will  probably  send  of  his  own  accord. 

And  now  kindest  regards  to  you  all  three,  and  a 
plea  for  remembrance,  from 

J.  Brahms. 

9   Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  February  15,  1877. 

My  dear  Herr  Brahms,  —  I  hope  you  were  not 
impatient  with  me  for  the  delay  in  the  arrival  of  the 
symphony.  I  confess  my  guilt,  if  guilt  it  was  in  your 
eyes,  in  having  kept  it  back  a  few  days,  to  learn  it 
by  heart.  I  had  no  time  to  ask  your  permission  first, 
as  of  course  I  ought  to  have  done.  My  little  wife 
plays  it  accurately  now,  and  is  not  a  little  proud  of  her 
feat  in  reading  the  score.  But  how  shall  I  express  our 
great  admiration  for  the  composer,  and  our  thanks  ? 
My  clumsy  pen  is,  I  feel,  very  inadequate.  It  seems 
to  us  an  event  of  world  magnitude,  the  absence  of 
which  is  now  unthinkable,  enriching  and  ennobling 
our  existence   as   only  the  greatest  things  can.    As 

*  Karl  Reinecke  (b.  1824),  pianist  and  composer,  Director  of  the 
Gewandhaus. 

t  Dr.  Hermann  Kretzschmar  (b.  1848),  writer  and  composer, 
afterwards  Professor  at  Berlin  University,  was  one  of  the  earliest  and 
most  persuasive  apostles  of  Brahms'  music. 


i6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

a  musician  who  has  met  with  affectation  and 
superficiality  at  every  turn  in  his  not  inconsiderable 
experience,  I  count  myself  (and  all  earnest  seekers) 
happy  in  this  pillar  you  have  erected — though  with 
no  thought  of  us — in  our  path.  What  matters  the 
morass  on  our  left,  the  sandy  waste  on  our  right  ?  It 
can  only  be  a  matter  of  indifference  to  you  which  road 
we  strike.  But  if  you  will  observe  the  Lilliputian 
migration  (take  a  microscope,  please  !),  you  will  per- 
haps find  some  satisfaction  in  the  way  the  little  folk 
have  picked  themselves  up  again,  leaving  here  and 
there  a  boot  in  the  mud  in  their  anxiety  to  keep  up, 
or  shaking  the  dust  from  their  garments  (with  quite  a 
pretty  colour  effect),  one  and  all  determined  to  stick  to 
the  right  path. 

And  that  reminds  me  of  Julius  Rontgen's*  Serenade^ 
which  we  heard  last  Saturday.  It  is  really  his  best 
work,  and  shows  that  he  is  not  afraid  to  be  '  tuneful,' 
unlike  most  other  composers  nowadays  ! 

And  now  by  way  of  farewell : 

For  all  that  you've  endured  unvexed, 

I  am  your  debtor  ; 
And  trust  that  where  you  sojourn  next 

They'll  treat  you  better  !  f 

We  know,  for  instance,  that  Frau  Faber  makes 
*  dreams'  of  pasties.  Remember  us  to  the  dear  people. 
We  so  often  wish  we  were  near  them. 

*  JuHus  Rontgen  (b.  1855),  pianist  and  composer,  was  from  1869 
leader  of  the  Gewandhaus  orchestra,  and  afterwards  Director  of  Music 
in  Amsterdam. 

f  A  variant  of  the  well-known  volkslied  Da  unten  im  Tale,  set  to 
music  by  Brahms.     Herzogenberg's  lines  are  as  follows : 

'  Fiir  die  Zeit,  wo  Sie  vorlieb  nahmen, 
Dankc  ich  schon, 
Und  ich  wiinsch',  dass  es  Ihnen  anderswo 
Besser  mag  gehn  !' 


SONGS  17 

I  have  left  no  room  for  all  the  nice  things  I  was 

to   say    to   you    from    my   wife    and    '  daughter,'    so 

please    consider    them    said.  —  Always     yours    very 

sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 


10.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  23,  1877.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  hope  my  fat  letter  of  to-day  will 
catch  you  in  one  of  your  leisure  moments.  You  will 
see  at  once  that  I  do  not  mean  this  sheet  —  I  could 
never  write  a  fat  letter  on  ordinary  paper — but  some- 
thing that  will  arrive  an  hour  or  two  later.  I  really 
felt  I  must  send  you  a  message  or  a  greeting,  and  hear 
from  you  in  return. 

Perhaps  you  may  be  induced  to  write  and  tell  me 
what  you  think  of  my  green-stuff,*  and  particularly  of 
anything  that  has  not  the  honour  of  pleasing  you. 

When  you  have  had  enough  of  the  sweets,  you  may 
turn  to  the  study  'after  Bach,'  which  should  be 
amusing  to  practise.! 

I  shall  really  write  very  soon  to  tell  you  where 
everything  is  to  be  sent. 

In  any  case,  many  apologies  for  giving  you  so  much 
trouble  over  my  correspondence. 

It  would  be  nice  if  you  had  time  and  felt  like  writing 
me  two  letters,  and  scolding  me  well. 

Your  *  daughter '  ought  really  to  send  her  sketches 
to  the  right  address  ! 

*  Songs  in  manuscript  from  Op.  69-71. 

f  Presto  nach  J.  S.  Bach,  from  the  Sonata  for  Violin  Solo  in  G  minor. 
Two  editions  of  this  were  published  in  1879  by  Bartholf  Senff  in 
Studien  filr  Pianoforte  von  Brahms. 

2 


i8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

If  I  were  to  tell  how  the  drawing  had  been  taken 
for  a  portrait  of  one  of  my  directors.  .  .  !* 

Won't  you  come  to  Vienna  a  little  earlier  this  year  ? 
I  am  not  sure  how  long  I  may  stay  or  where  I  may 
go.  It  sounds  like  vanity — but  you  might  spare  your- 
selves the  trouble  of  copying ;  printing  is  so  very,  very 
rapid. 

But  I  must  not  give  the  lie  to  my  opening  remarks. 

— With  kindest   remembrances   to   the  trefoil,  yours 

sincerely, 

J.  Brahms. 

11.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  23,  1877.] 

Dear  Friend, — Did  you  find  them  entertaining,  and 
was  your  lady  pleased  ?  Please  pack  up  the  whole 
bundle  now  and  forward  them  as  soon  as  possible, 
without  losing  a  day,  to  Frau  Schumann,  Berlin, 
N.W.,  In  den  Zelten,  No.  11.  I  am,  quite  seriously, 
ashamed  to  trouble  you  again,  but  it  is  done  now. 

Forgive   me.     I  shall  look  for  a  reassuring  word. 

— In  haste,  yours  very  sincerely, 

J.  Brahms. 

12.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  Afril  27,  1877. 

My  dear  kind  Friend, — Just  my  luck  !  I  have  come 
home  at  last,  tired  and  dusty,  after  being  out  all  day 
on  concert  business,  without  a  moment's  leisure  for 
writing.  Thank  you  now  most  sincerely  for  your 
very   spontaneous   sign   of  affection.      It   makes   me 

*  The  portrait  of  Brahms  by  Mathilde  von  Hartenthal  mentioned 
in  Letter  7. 


SONGS  19 

happier  than  I  have  been  for  many  a  day,  first  that 
you  should  think  of  us  at  all,  then  your  knowing  how 
pleased  we  should  be  (otherwise  you  would  have  sent 
the  parcel  straight  to  its  destination),  and  lastly  the 
beauty  of  the  songs,  one  and  all.  We  shall  not 
complain  of  the  dream-like  nature  of  their  visit ;  it  is 
enough  that  they  came  our  way  at  all.  So  indelibly 
did  they  impress  themselves  on  our  consciousness, 
that,  even  if  we  never  saw  them  again  and  should  lose 
all  tangible  recollection,  the  impression  would  keep 
its  freshness,  and  we  shall  always  like  you  the  better 
by  twenty  songs,  counting  from  yesterday.  To  the 
rescue,  Samiel  or  Simrock,*  and  spare  us  this  test ! 

We  fetched  Julius  Rontgen,  and  sat  at  the  piano 
four  hours.  First  he  sang,  then  she ;  then  she  played, 
then  he;  while  I  took  prosaic  notes  of  our  impressions, 
with  the  numbers  and  temperatures,  on  a  slip  of  paper, 
so  as  to  be  able  to  say  the  proper  thing  to  you  after 
taking  the  parcel  to  post.  This  I  did  with  my  own 
hand  this  morning,  so  Frau  Schumann  will  have  them, 
and  her  delight  in  them,  by  now. 

Our  special  favourites  are :  Ei^  schmollte  mein  Vater^ 
Atherische  feme  Stimmen^  Silbermond,  O  Friihlings- 
abendddmmerungy  Es  kehrt  die  dunkle  Schwalbe^  and 
Sonimerfdden,\  A  curious  thing  happened  with  Frith- 
lingsabendddmmerung.    We  had  sung  it  through  many 

*  Two  of  Brahms's  publishers. — Tr. 

t  The  actual  titles  are  :  Des  Liebsten  Schwur,Lerchengcsang,  An  den 
Mond,  Geheimnis,  Alte  Liebe,  and  Sommerfaden,  from  Op.  69,  70,  71, 
and  72.  Herzogenberg  speaks  of  twenty  songs;  but,  as  the  four 
sets  published  by  Simrock  in  1877  include  twenty-three  songs,  Brahms 
must  have  added  three.  He  seems  to  have  attached  particular 
importance  to  Alte  Liebe,  Sommerfaden,  Serenade  (Op.  70),  and 
Unilberwindlich  (Op.  72),  as  he  noted  the  date  of  their  completion 
(May,  1876)  with  some  care. 

2 — 2 


20  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

times  with  all  possible  fervour,  when  my  conductor's 
eye,  whose  acquaintance  you  have  not  yet  made,  fell 
casually  on  the  tempo  mark.  We  were  struck  dumb, 
and  exchanged  conscience -stricken  glances.  I  re- 
member talking  about  tempo  marks  to  you,  and 
having  the  audacity  to  maintain  that  a  decent  musician 
could  not  go  wrong  in  the  time  of  any  healthy  piece. 
And  yet,  how  slowly  had  we  taken  it,  misled  by  that 
same  fervour !  Sehr  lebhaft  und  heimlich  runs  the  in- 
scription— and  we  had  wasted  sentiment  on  every 
suspension  in  the  left  hand ;  we  had  lingered — with 
what   delicious   thrills ! — on   the   two    broken   chords 

2  and  jj;  in  the  right  hand,  with  the  syncopated  D 

d         d 

down  below,  and  all  wrong  !  I  seemed  to  hear  your 
satirical  laugh  in  the  distance.  You  may  be  right ; 
you  are,  of  course,  and  in  future  we  will  sing  it  with 
due  'vivacity'  and  'secret'  gratitude.  All  the  same, 
the  discovery  affected  us  painfully,  and  we  cherish  a 
hope  that  Roder*  made  a  mistake  which  you  over- 
looked in  the  proof,  and  we  may  yet  see  it  publicly 
inscribed  Langsam  und  heimlich.] 

There  is  nothing  to  be  said  about  Atherische  feme 
Stimmen.  I  only  regret  that  the  right  hand  should  be 
balked  of  its  evident  desire  to  stretch  iiths  and  i3ths  ! 
Words  are  never  any  good,  but  mine  must  be  more 
futile  than  most  people's ;  for  I  seem  doomed  to  write 
you,  of  all  men,  the  stiffest  and  worst  letters.  If  you 
have  seen  in  them  hitherto  the  expression  of  my 
character,  I  must  indeed  have  come  off  badly  ! 

*  Music-engraver  at  Leipzig. 

f  Cf.  following  letter.     Brahms  changed  the  tempo  mark  to  Belebt 
und  heimlich. 


SONGS  21 

The  Bach  arrangement  is  splendid,  though  we 
mortals  can  only  manage  it  as  a  duet,  and  not  easily 
at  that.  Is  it  to  be  printed,  or  may  we  order  copies  of 
it  ?  Piracy  is,  alas !  one  of  the  many  forbidden 
pleasures,  or  we  should  have  liked  to  copy  out  one 
of  the  songs  in  haste,  to  be  preserved  as  balm  for 
certain  wounded  female  hearts.  But  it  has  been 
dropped  pitilessly  into  the  treasure-chamber  at  the 
door  of  which  that  monstrous  Berlin  dragon  suns 
himself.* 

It  would  have  been  delightful  to  meet  you  in 
Vienna,  but  hardly  practicable,  even  if  you  are  still 
there,  for  we  are  not  coming  at  all.  We  are  devoting 
the  whole  of  May  to  my  poor  sister  in  Bohemia,  who 
has  just  lost  her  husband.  After  that  I  hope  for  a 
quiet  time  in  the  mountains.  We  shall  stay  at  Alt- 
Aussee  until  the  end  of  September,  working  hard. 
You  might  really  put  in  a  little  time  there,  too.  How 
nice  for  me  to  see  you  and  Goldmark  doing  a  climb 
together  ! 

So  Frau  Schumann  goes  to  Diisseldorf,  after  all.  Is 
she  making  a  home  for  you,  or  what  is  behind  it  all  ? 
I  am  not  the  Wochenblatt,  and  can  hold  my  tongue. t 

Once  more — God  bless  you  ! 

This  is  merely  number  one.     Number  two  follows 

close — to-morrow,  indeed,  when  my  wife  has  time  to 

write.l — Yours  most  sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 

*  Probably  refers  to  Brahms's  publisher,  Simrock. — Tr. 

t  Brahms  had  been  offered  the  post,  once  held  by  Schumann,  of 
Music  Director  at  Diisseldorf,  but  the  lengthy  negotiations  led  to 
nothing. 

X  The  letter  was  not  written  until  May  5  (see  Letter  14). 


22  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

13.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  29,  1877.] 

My  good  Friend, — In  return  for  your  very  kind 
letter,  I  must  tell  you  at  once  that,  although  Belebt  und 
hcimlich  is  the  tempo  mark  for  Fruhlingsddmmerung 
in  the  manuscript,  I  set  it  down  practically  in  despera- 
tion, thinking  the  song  very  dull.  But  later  on  there 
is  immer  langsamer^  Adagio^  and  at  the  end  actually 
a  pause  ^  over  the  whole  bar ! 

Frau  Schumann  has  long  had  an  idea  of  settling  at 
Dusseldorf.  I  think  it  a  great  pity  for  various  reasons, 
and  am  exceedingly  sorry  she  has  decided  to  go. 

It  has  nothing  to  do  with  my  invitation.  The  matter 
is  at  last  (and  only  just)  settled;  for  one  thing,  President 
Bitter*  is  going  to  Berlin. 

I  am  very  glad  I  was  cautious  enough  to  keep  out 
of  that  wasps'  nest. 

Very  best  remembrances. — Yours  in  haste  and  sin- 
cerely, j^  Brahms. 

Talking  of  manuscripts,  I  have  not  forgotten  that 
I  owe  your  wife  one.  She  shall  not  be  disappointed. 
It  will  be  the  tenderest  thing  I  can  find ! 

14.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  N.W.  (!),  May  5,  1877. 

Dear  Herr  Brahms, — Your  birthday  being  the  day 
after  to-morrow,  we  shall  celebrate  it  here  with  dear 

*  Karl  Hermann  Bitter  (1813-1885),  Prussian  Minister  of  Finance 
from  1878,  whose  writings  on  J.  S.  Bach  and  his  sons  were  well 
known,  was  then  Regieriings-'prdsidcnt  at  Dusseldorf,  and  President 
of  the  Musikgesellschafi  there.  In  this  capacity  he  had  some  corre- 
spondence with  Brahms  about  the  directorship. 


SONGS  23 

Frau  Schumann  at  her  own  house.  How  your  ears 
should  burn  when  we  drink  your  health !  Let  me  tell 
you  it  is  a  red-letter  day  for  us,  the  day  when  you 
graciously  condescended  to  visit  this  planet. 

It  was  a  delight  to  find  your  songs  again  here.  It 
gave  me  almost  as  much  pain  as  pleasure  to  have 
them  at  Leipzig,  for  to  have  such  a  selection  there 
without  getting  to  know  them  intimately,  or  having 
them  at  hand  to  pet,  was  too  tantalizing.  I  have  made 
up  for  it  now,  more  or  less,  and  know  some  of  them 
so  well  that  they  are  with  me  in  my  walks  and  every- 
where. My  prime  favourites  are  :  Atherische  feme 
Stimmen,  Sommerfdden,  and  the  G-minor-y  one  in  four- 
time  with  the  dotted  quavers  (by  Lemcke,  I  forget  the 
name*)  and  then  the  glorious  Mddchenfluch  and — and 
— die  dunklen  Schwalben  (Henschel's)!! 

Since  you  insist  on  hearing  what  we  did  not  like, 
I  will  tell  you,  as  I  have  a  tiresome  affection  for  home- 
truths.  I  don't  like  the  Tambour ^  *  nicht  ist  da '  (No.  i, 
I  think)  or  Willst  du,  dass  ich  geh\%  Particularly 
the  latter  fails  to  appeal  to  me ;  the  words  alone  are 
enough.  That  kind  of  reproof  is  only  possible  in 
volkslied  style.  Wer  steht  vor  meiner  Kammertur  and 
the  one  before  it  in  the  Schumann  book§  are  so  entirely 
different.  The  tritt  auf  tritt  auf  in  your  duet||  could 
offend  no  one,  for  instance,  but  this  one  has  an  un- 
pleasant ring.  / 

*  Im  Garten  am  Seegestade,  Op.  70,  No.  i. 

t  Georg  Henschel  (b.  1850),  singer,  to  whom  Brahms  had  given 
the  manuscript  of  Alte  Liebe  in  1876,  when  at  Riigcn. 

%  Tambourlicdchen,  Op.  69,  No.  5 ;  Klage,  Op.  69,  No.  i,  and  Op.  71, 
No.  4. 

§  From  Schumann's  four  duets,  Op.  34,  Untcrm  Fenstcr  and 
Liebhabers  Stdndchen. 

II  From  Brahms's  duets  for  alto  and  baritone,  Op.  28,  No.  2. 


24  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

But  please  don't  mind  my  babble.  Frau  Schumann 
is  asleep  over  in  the  other  room,  and  the  songs  are  on 
her  piano;  otherwise  I  could  write  another  sheet  or 
two  about  them — what  an  escape  for  you !  Excuse 
the  smudges.  We  have  to  fetch  Joachim  to  go  to 
Lowe.* 

Good-bye,  and  we  request  that  you  will  kindly  live 
to  be  very,  very  old. 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 
Signed :  Heinrich  von  Herzogenberg. 

FiLLU.t 

1 5.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  vo7t  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  November  13,  1877.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — You  will  no  doubt  think, 
when  you  see  my  writing,  that  I  am  going  to  drop  on 
you  again  to  go  to  Hauffe  or  Hartel  or  the  Hauffe 
Hotel  for  me.  However,  you  are  wrong.  I  am  coming 
to  Leipzig  in  the  beginning  of  January,  but  shall  take 
my  luck,  or  at  a  pinch  can  be  guided  by  the  stars 
(with  which  Baedeker  decorates  so  many  places  in 
Leipzig). 

But  I  have  a  request,  and,  what  is  more,  one  that 
hopes  for  an  answer.  Hartel  is  worrying  me  to  help 
with  the  complete  edition  of  Chopin,  t 

I  should  like  to  know  whether  your  parents  possessed 
any  manuscripts,  or,  still  better,  copies  of  his  works 
with  any  of  his  notes  or  corrections.  § 

^  Probably  an  evening  devoted  to  Lowe's  ballads, 
t  Nickname   for    Marie    Fillunger,   singer,   and    friend    of    Frau 
Schumann. 

X  Brahms  helped  to  revise  the  edition. 

§  The  father  was  a  pupil  of  Chopin  (see  Introduction). 


THE  SECOND  SYMPHONY  25 

Could  I  see  any  there  may  be  in  Vienna?  Or  at 
Dresden*  or  Leipzig? 

If  I  were  a  well-behaved  person,  my  letter  would  be 
just  beginning;  or  if  I  were  sufficiently  bold,  I  should 
be  tempted  to  slip  a  practical  joke  on  music-paper f 
into  the  envelope. 

But  1  am  neither,  so  merely  send  you — all  three — 

my  best   remembrances,  and  request   the   honour  of 

inviting  you   personally   to   the   performance   of  my 

newest  symphony.t — Most  sincerely  yours, 

J.  Brahms. 
Vienna,  IV.  Karlsgasse,  4. 

16.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  November  15,  1877. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  confess  I  thought  some- 
thing different  was  coming  when  I  received  your  note, 
and  was  as  delighted  as  a  child  to  think  that  you  were 
coming  to  see  us.  Instead  of  which — an  introduction 
about  Hartel-Hauffe  and  the  stars  in  Baedeker,  and 

*  Elisabet's  brother,  Ernst  von  Stockhausen,  lived  in  Dresden. 

t  The  practical  joke  was  a  copy  which  Brahms  had  made  for 
Frau  von  Herzogenberg  of  one  of  his  vocal  quartets,  0  schone  Nacht ! 
Op.  92,  No.  I,  first  published  in  1884.  At  the  words  ^  Der  Knabe 
schlcicht  zu  seiner  Licbsten  sacht — sacht — saclit,'  Brahms  left  a  space, 
and  wrote  across  the  score  :  '  Stop,  Johannes  my  son,  what's  this  ? 
These  matters  are  only  to  be  treated  in  volkslied  style ;  you  have 
forgotten  again.  Only  a  peasant  may  ask  whether  he  is  to  stay  or 
go,  and  you  are  no  peasant,  alas  !  Don't  offend  that  fair  head  with 
its  glory  of  gold,  but  have  done !  Repeat  simply '  (here  the  song 
continues)  :  'O  schone  Nacht!'  This  was,  of  course,  meant  as  a  mild 
protest  against  his  friend's  objection  to  *  Willst  dii,  dass  ich  geh.'  The 
original  manuscript  of  this  quartet  was  in  the  possession  of  Thcodor 
Billroth,  the  eminent  Viennese  surgeon,  and  bore  the  date  January  29, 
1878.  It  was,  however,  composed  in  the  summer  of  1877.  Both 
copies  bear  the  name  Notturno. 

%  In  D,  Op.  73. 


26  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

after  that  the  Chopin  matter.     Now  you  must  admit 
it  would  have  been  much  friendlier  to  begin : 

'I  am  coming  to  you  on  January  i.  See  that  you 
have  good  coffee,  and  fresh — not  boiled — cream  this 
time,  since  you  have  at  last  realized  that  I  prefer  it. 
Don't  starve  me,  either,  but  give  me  a  decent  lunch 
(Emma  Engelmann  *  will  give  you  an  idea  of  its  dimen- 
sions). If  these  conditions  are  fulfilled,  I  will  play 
you  my  new  symphony  at  once  without  waiting  until 
Stockhausent  comes,'  etc. 

Yes,  that  is  how  any  nice,  comfortable  person  would 
write.  As  for  you,  your  letter  really  made  me  sad. 
You  see,  I  knew  long  ago  that  you  were  coming  in 
January  with  a  new  symphony  in  your  bag — how  can 
you  write  an  elegant  word  like  'symphony'  with  an/?t 
— and  yet  I  forced  myself  not  to  write,  out  of  modesty, 
and  with  the  idea  that  Brahms  would  write  and  invite 
himself  if  he  v/anted  to  come.  And  this  is  my  reward ! 
Hang  modesty,  I  say! 

I  can  tell  you  little  about  Chopin.  So  far  as  I  know, 
my  father  has,  or  had,  one  single  manuscript.  This 
he  gave  to  my  brother,  who  has  also  my  father's  whole 
Chopin  edition.  He  can  best  give  you  information. 
I  believe  Chopin  scribbled  a  mark  or  two  in  some  of 
the  things.  You  shall  certainly  see  all  there  is.  I  am 
writing  to  my  brother  about  it  by  this  post. 

And  now,  fare  you  well — better  than  you  deserve ! 

*  Emma  Engelmann,  nee  Brandes  (b.  1854),  a  pianist,  pupil  of  Aloys 
Schmitt  and  Goltermann,  wife  of  the  Berlin  physiologist,  Theodor 
Wilhelm  Engelmann,  at  that  time  Professor  at  Utrecht  University. 
They  were  among  Brahms's  best  friends.  The  Quartet  in  B  flat, 
Op.  67,  is  dedicated  to  Engelmann. 

t  JuUus  Stockhausen  (1826- 1906),  famous  singer,  and  master  of 
method  at  Frankfurt-am-Main. 

X  German  modern  spelling  of  the  word,  Sinfonie. — Tr. 


THE  SECOND  SYMPHONY  27 

If  you  really  wanted  to  be  quite  free  this  time  and 
go  to  Hauffe  (who  has  added  a  new  storey,  and  grows 
more  splendid  every  day),  you  might  have  broken  it  to 
me  differently,  so  that  I  could  glean  a  little  comfort. 
That  letter  was  horrid.  You  cannot  go  to  the  Hartels, 
because  they  are  in  Italy;  nor  to  the  Engelmanns,*  who 
would  no  doubt  like  to  have  you,  as  the  house  will 
be  broken  up.  Old  Mrs.  Engelmann  has  to  be  with 
Emma,  who  is  expecting  a  baby,  lucky  woman ! 

So  if  you  are  not  set  on  going  to  Hauffe's  .  .  .  write 
and  tell  your  devoted  friends, 

The  Herzogenbergs. 


1 7.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  November  22,  1877.] 

Dear  Lady, — Modesty  is  the  most  unpractical  garb 
anyone  can  wear.  Are  you  only  teasing  me,  or  did 
you  really  not  see  the  insinuating  way  in  which  my 
letter  pulled  your  beard — the  beautiful  one  which 
adorns  your  husband's  face  ?  Your  general  informa- 
tion is,  I  may  say,  superfluous,  and  moreover  untrust- 
worthy. 'The  good  storks  return 'f  in  December,  not 
January. 

The  new  symphony,  too,  is  merely  a  Sinfonie^  and  I 
shall  not  need  to  play  it  to  you  beforehand.  You  have 
only  to  sit  down  to  the  piano,  put  your  small  feet 
on  the  two  pedals  in  turn,  and  strike  the  chord  of 
F  minor  several  times  in  succession,  first  in  the  treble, 

*  Wilhelm  Engelmann  (1808-1878),  publisher  and  art-collector  in 
Leipzig,  father  of  Professor  Engelmann. 

t  Quotation  from  the  song  Altc  Licbc,  Op.  72,  No.  i.  According 
to  German  legend,  the  storks  bring  babies. 


28  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

then  in  the  bass  [ff  and  />/»),  and  you  will  gradually 
gain  a  vivid  impression  of  my  'latest.'* 

But  I  must  really  apologize  for  doing  nothing  but 
contradict  you.  Here  is  some  news  to  make  up. 
Goldmark  arrived  yesterday,  and  will  probably  be 
in  Leipzig  in  January  with  his  opera.f  This  opera 
of  his  takes  him  away,  not  only  from  his  studio  at 
Gmunden,  but  from  here  constantly.  I  should  like 
to  keep  him  here.  He  is  a  delightful  fellow,  and  there 
are  too  few  of  the  sort  in  Vienna. 

But  how  many  letters  have  I  written  to-day  ?  I 
really  must  stop.  If  I  put  this  in  its  cover  after  all,  it 
is  only  because  I  fear  you  may  really  have  misunder- 
stood my  last. 

It  was,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  a  begging  letter.  By  the 
way,  Epstein  I  led  me  to  expect  more  from  your  Chopin 
hoard. 

No    more    to-day. — With    kindest   regards,    yours 

very  sincerely, 

J.  Brahms. 

1 8.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig]  December  3,  1877. 

My  dear  good  Friend, — It  was  bad  of  me  not  to 
answer  your  last  kind  letter  at  once;  but  I  had  the 
Spittas  staying  here,  and  there  was  always  something 
in  the  way.  Thank  you  for  wanting  to  come  back  to 
us.     If  you  went  to  Hauffe's,  I  should  be  as  sad  as, 

*  An  attempt  to  mislead  her  as  to  the  character  of  the  symphony, 
which  was  actually  the  reverse  of  gloomy. 

f  The  Queen  of  Shcha^  which  was  produced  everywhere  soon  after 
the  first  successful  performance  in  Vienna  (1875). 

X  Julius  Epstein  (b.  1832),  Viennese  pianist  and  professor,  who 
had  taught  Frau  von  Herzogenherg. 


THE  SECOND  SYMPHONY  29 

say,  Simrock,  if  you  published  your  second  Sinjonie 
(since  it  must  be  !)*  elsewhere. 

If  you  would  only  express  yourself  a  little  more 
clearly,  my  gratitude  would  be  complete.  They  say 
here  that  your  Sinfonie  is  to  be  played  in  January,  and 
not  at  the  first  concert,  either.  Frau  Schumann  tells 
me  definitely  she  is  coming  back  to  hear  the  Brahms 
symphony,  after  having  played  at  the  New  Year's 
concert  herself.  So  please  explain  why  the  good 
storks  (to  which  you  evidently  think  you  belong!) 
return  in  December.  I  must  know,  because  I  have 
practically  no  room  in  December,  when  both  my  little 
rooms  will  be  full.  It  is  an  arrangement  of  long 
standing  that  I  cannot  possibly  alter  now,  and  I  am 
therefore  most  anxious  to  hear  that  you  made  a  slip 
the  other  day.  Otherwise  you  would  not  be  able  to 
land  at  our  house,  though  I  hope  we  should  persuade 
you  to  move  across  into  Humboldtstrasse  later.  Your 
letter  is  so  vague  that  I  have  just  had  a  presentiment 
your  sentence  about  the  storks  may  be  taken  to  refer 
to  Frau  Engelmann,  in  which  case  I  am  worrying 
unnecessarily  about  your  visit.  How  I  hope  this  may 
be  so ! 

This  sudden  inspiration  has  quite  dazed  me,  for 
the  storks  are  flying  about  my  head  in  their  sphinx- 
like double  character.  Do  clear  up  the  confusion,  and 
forgive  these  hurried  lines. — Yours, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

Tell  us  which  day  to  expect  you,  so  that  we  can 
look  forward  to  it. 

P.S. — On  reading  your  letter  over,  I  understand  it 
perfectly,  and  see  that  I  was  a  goose  about  the  storks. 

*  C/.  Letters  16  and  17. 


30  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

We  may  expect  you  in  January,  then ;  the  earlier  the 
better.     Both  rooms  are  free  from  the  2nd. 

[^Enclosure.^ 
About  Chopin — my  brother,  I  am  sorry  to  say,  con- 
firms my  conjecture.  He  writes  that  my  father's 
edition  contains  nothing  that  can  be  of  use  to  you. 
Any  notes  there  may  be  are  not  supplementary 
readings,  but  only  corrections  of  glaring  misprints, 
such  as  every  musical  person  could  make  for  himself. 
The  fingering  which  is  written  in  here  and  there  might 
equally  well  be  Alkan's.*  My  father  studied  with  him 
also.  Of  the  three  manuscripts  in  my  brother's  pos- 
session, two  are  copies,  the  only  genuine  one  being 
the  Barcarolle^  dedicated  to  my  mother.  My  brother 
would  like  to  give  you  this,  together  with  the  personally 
presented  copy  of  the  G  minor  Ballade;  but  he  must  first 
ask  my  father,  who  made  them  over  to  him  with  the 
solemnest  stipulations.  If  you  would  still  care  to  see 
the  books,  they  are  of  course  at  your  service,  I  was 
to  tell  you. 

19.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg, 

[Vienna,  December  12,  1877.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  had  a  sheet  of  paper  all 
ready  for  you,  when  there  came  a  letter  from  Lim- 
burger,t  inviting  me  to  play  my  concerto  at  Leipzig  on 
January  i.  I  really  don't  know  what  to  do,  and  have 
to  think  it  over  so  carefully  that  you  will  have  no 
letter. 

*  Charles  Henri  Valentin  Morhange  (18 13- 1888),  known  as  Alkan, 
French  pianist  and  composer. 

t  Dr.  Limburger,  Consul  at  Leipzig,  was  on  the  committee  of  the 
Gewandhaus  concerts. 


THE  GEWANDHAUS  CONCERT  31 

You  can  imagine  the  respect  with  which  your  last 
letter  inspired  me.  It  was  a  triumph  of  penetration, 
and  read,  I  may  say,  like  a  page  in  one  of  Beethoven's 
sketch-books,  where  an  idea  is  originated,  developed, 
and — fill  out  the  parallel  for  yourself. 

But  can  you  really  stand  a  practical  joke  ?  I  wanted 
to  make  my  peace  by  enclosing  the  Andante  from 
my  third  piano  quartet,  which  I  still  have,  remem- 
bering that  you  liked  it,  and  I  hardly  know  whether  I 
am  keeping  it  back  from  vanity  or  a  sense  of  delicacy. 
I  will  bring  it  when  I  come. 

1  will  not  insult  your  intelligence  by  offering  to 
explain  the  little  jest*  I  am  sending,  and  need  hardly 
say  that  I  strongly  advocate  the  exploitation  of  other 
people's  motifs.  .  .  . 

But,  as  you  see,  my  thoughts  are  with  Limburger. 

To  have  the  F  minor!  here  on  the  30th,  and  then  play 

a  piano  concerto  !  ? !  ? — Yours  most  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

20.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December  13,  1877.] 

My  good  Friend, — I  forgot  to  say  yesterday  that,  in 
case  1  do  play  at  Leipzig,  %  I  should  very  much  like  to 
have  a  day  or  two  at  an  hotel.  I  should  be  uncomfort- 
able practising  in  a  friend's  house,  you  see,  and  yet 
I  must  practise.  So  if  I  am  such  a  fool  as  to  accept,  I 
shall  ask  you  to  engage  me  a  room  at  Hauffe's,  or 
where  you  like,  and  order  in  a  piano  (an  upright). 

Then,  when  your  rooms  are  at  liberty,  I  shall  be 

*  The   manuscript  of   0   schone  Nacht,  mentioned   in   Letter  15. 
Brahms  had  used  a  motif  of  Herzogenberg's  by  way  of  a  jest, 
t  He  keeps  up  the  fiction  about  his  D  major  symphony. 
;}:  He  was  to  play  his  Concerto  in  D  minor,  Op.  15. 


32  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

free    too,    and    can     make    a    triumphal    procession 
through  the  town  to  your  house. 

N.B. — I  expect  to  have  a  concert  here  on  the  30th,* 

so  shall  arrive  at  the  last  moment.     Are  you  on  such 

terms  with  Reinecke  that  you  can  ask  him  about  a 

concert-grand  ?     I    shall   come   straight  to  rehearsal, 

and  should  like  to  have  the  best  possible  piano. — With 

kindest  regards,  yours  in  great  haste, 

J.  Br. 

2 1 .  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  December  16,  1877. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Since  it  has  to  be,  I  w^ill 
engage  you  a  room  at  Hauffe's  or  'where  1  like.' 
Where  I  like  happens  to  be  the  Palmbaum,  a  highly 
respectable,  clean,  and  sufficiently  elegant  hotel,  which 
is  not  far  from  us.  You  will  thus  be  able  to  come  and 
rest  from  your  labours,  the  finger  exercises,  in  the 
evening.  Also  we  should  like  to  invite  you  to  dinner, 
if  not  every  day,  very  often,  and  altogether  make  your 
necessary  and  voluntary  exile  as  pleasant  as  possible, 
It  will  also  simplify  matters  when  the  blissful  moment 
comes  for  you  to  move  into  Humboldstrasse.  So,  un- 
less I  hear  from  you  again,  I  will  ask  you  to  consider 
yourself  booked  at  the  Palmbaum,  and  make  your 
arrangements  accordingly.  You  will,  I  hope,  let  me 
know  the  day  and  hour  of  your  arrival  soon. 

I  will  order  you  an  extra-magnificent  piano  through 
Reinecke.  I  think  I  can  get  you  a  full-sized  Bluthner 
(Aliquot),  or,  if  you  like,  a  fine  Bechstein  (from  your 
friend  Robert  Seitz,  who  will  at  worst  only  request 

*  The  D  major  symphony  was  played  at  the  Vienna  Philharmonic, 
under  Dr.  Richter,  on  December  30,  1877. 


CONCERT  AT  LEIPZIG  33 

the  manuscript  of  a  symphony  in  return !).  Or,  if  you 
like  Grotrian,  Helfferich  and  Schulz,  I  can  try  for  one 
of  theirs.     Bluthner  is  certain. 

My  best  thanks,  by  the  way,  for  taking  my  egg  into 
your  cuckoo's  nest.*  History  will  not  be  able  to 
say  in  our  case  that  a  pupil  has  robbed  his  master. 
Writers  such  as  Emil  Naumannf  and  others  will  be 
so  flustered,  if  this  sort  of  thing  goes  on,  as  to  be 
reduced  to  classifying  Brahms  as  the  Epigonus  of  his 
most  faithful  disciples.    And  it  would  serve  you  right! 

But  why  did  you  keep  back  the  part  which  divides 
us  ? 

Would  it  not  have  been  better  to  fill  this  serious 
gapt  with  something  nice  and  non-committal  than  to 
exercise  your  fatal  memory  for  certain  conversations  ? 

I  am  copying  out  this  exquisite  song,  and  want  to 
have  it  sung  here,  so  please  send  what  is  missing. 

The  youth  steals  along  a  familiar  path  to  his  be- 
loved, §  but  what  matter,  if  he  does  it  melodiously  ? 

I  have  a  Bach  concert  to-day.  Counting  backwards, 
how  many  have  there  been  ?    Who  could  guess  ? 

Our  kindest  regards,  and  we   hope  soon   to  hear 

about    the    hotel,   the   piano   and   the   date    of   your 

arrival. — Ever  yours  sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 

(P.S.  from  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg.) 

I  have  to  thank  you  for  the  manuscript,  which  would 
have  pleased  me  better  without  its  strong  flavour  of 
sarcasm,  aimed  at  my  poor  feminine  scruples.     You 

*  See  notes  to  Letters  15  and  19. 

t  Emil  Naumann  (1827-1888),  composer  and  writer  on  music  at 
Dresden  ;  author  of  an  Illustrated  History  of  Music. 
X  See  Letter  15,  note.  §  See  0  schd'ne  Nachi ! — Tr. 

3 


34  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

think  me  prudish,  and  it  is  useless  to  defend  myself, 
although  nothing  could  be  more  unjust.  If  you  only 
knew  how  many  lances  I  have  broken  for  your 
Daumer  songs,  even  the  much-abused  Unbewegte  laue 
Luft.'' 

But  one  gets  hardened  to  ingratitude.  It  is  just  the 
way  in  which  the  question  is  put — May  he  stay?t — 
that  makes  all  the  difference,  and  Lemcke  is  not,  to 
my  mind,  the  man  to  put  it.J  Now,  this  E  major  piece 
might  say  or  ask  what  it  would ;  it  is  so  beautiful,  one 
would  put  up  with  anything.  What  a  distressingly 
good  memory  you  have !  Please  exert  it  to  remember 
the  promised  manuscript  from  the  C  minor  quartet. 
You  will  not  grudge  it  to  the  misjudged 

Wife  of  the  Above. 

22.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig]  December  26,  1877. 

My  dear  Friend, — Your  rooms  will  be  ready  on 
the  31st,  and  you  will  be  so  good  as  to  come  straight 
to  us,  and  not  go  to  the  hotel  first  for  twenty-four 
hours.  What  good  would  it  do  ?  You  would  only 
have  a  pitiful  couple  of  hours  for  practising  in  any 

*  Op.  57,  No.  8.  Georg  Friedrich  Daumer  (1800-1875),  author  of 
the  exquisite  German  version  of  Hafiz,  and  the  collection  of  songs 
Poly  dor  a,  was  at  one  time  unjustly  decried  for  the  sensuality  of  his 
poems.  His  Frauenbilder  und  Huldigungen,  in  particular,  brought 
him  much  adverse  criticism.  Brahms,  who  used  several  of  Daumer's 
poems,  had  taken  the  words  for  the  song  in  question  from  this 
collection. 

f  The  particular  point  in  the  song  to  which  Frau  von  Herzogen- 
berg had  taken  objection  (see  Letter  14). 

X  Karl  Lemcke  (b.  183 1),  poet  and  writer  on  aesthetics  and 
literature,  held  posts  at  the  Universities  of  Heidelberg,  Munich, 
Amsterdam,  and  Stuttgart. 


CONCERT  AT  LEIPZIG  35 

case,*  and  you  certainly  would  not  make  use  of  them 

without  someone  to  look  after  you     Once  here,  I  shall 

be   that  someone,   seat   you   at   the   piano,  and  then 

depart  lest  you  should  feel  shy.     If  we  only  knew 

whether  you  really  were  coming  on  the  31st!     You 

will  not  write,  and  we  are  so  looking  forward  to  your 

coming,  especially  if  you  don't  mean  to  be  horrid  to 

me  any  more.     Mind  you  don't  forget  my  Adagio.     I 

think  it  is  quite  fair  that  you  propose  to  give  me  that, 

for  I  love  it  so  very,  very  dearly.     And  now  be  good, 

and  come  to 

Your  devoted  Herzogenbergs. 

23.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg, 

[Vienna,  December  29,  1877.] 
Impossible  to  discuss  hotel,  puddings  and  piano  at 
this  distance.     I  hope,  however,  you  will  not  make 
any  fuss  or  burn  up  the  dishes. 

I  am  to  arrive  on  Monday  at  12.45,  ^^^  go  straight 
to  the  rehearsal.  Your  husband  would  perhaps  like 
to  ask  if  I  cannot  have  a  change  and  a  wash  in 
between,  but  it's  no  good. — Ever  your  unwashed 

J.  Br. 

The  orchestra  here  play  my  new  symphony  with 
crape  bands  on  their  sleeves  because  of  its  dirge-like 
effect.     It  is  to  be  printed  with  a  black  edge,  too.f 

*  Brahms  was  to  play  his  D  minor  concerto  on  New  Year's  Day 
at  the  Gewandhaus,  where  on  a  previous  occasion  (January  27,  1859) 
it  had  been  very  badly  received  (see  Kalbcck's  Johannes  Brahms, 
i.  352).  He  conducted  his  second  symphony  at  the  following  concert 
on  January  10. 

t  This  is  in  keeping  with  his  jest  about  the  '  F  minor '  symphony 
(see  footnote,  Letter  17).  The  symphony  was,  in  fact,  well  received 
in  Vienna,  some  parts  with  enthusiasm. 


36  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

24.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  January  16,  1878. 

Dear,  good,  much-missed  Friend, — Here  is  the  only 
press  notice  1  have  been  able  to  lay  hands  on  so  far. 
But  you  shall  have  them  all,  no  fear !  including  the 

,    which    declares   with   some   finality  that  your 

latest  lacks  inspiration.  You  will  have  to  get  used  to 
all  these  things,  and  cultivate  a  *  superior  attitude,'  as 
Frau  Pastor  says.  But  when  you  write  (we  do  not 
expect  to  hear  until  you  are  in  Vienna),*  do  tell  us 
*why  and  to  what  extent  you  are  above  criticism.' 
We  will  see  to  it  that  the  little  essay  is  widely  circu- 
lated. As  you  know,  I  never  tire  of  upholding  your 
good  name,  and  always  assure  people  that  you  are  the 
politest,  most  sociable  and  polished  creature  in  the 
world ;  that  you  took  lessons  in  deportment  from 
Frappartt  in  Vienna ;  and  that  it  is  only  the  grossly 
ignorant  who  fail  to  appreciate  the  elegance  of  your 
bows. 

I  can't  think  of  anything  more  to-day.  Nothing  has 
happened  except  that  notre  maitre^  notre  enfant  de- 
parted on  the  evening  of  the  nth,  leaving  two  very 
sad  Herzogenbergs  behind.  One  grows  accustomed 
to  delightful  visitors  with  such  fatal  ease.  Thank  you 
for  the  eleven  beautiful  days  you  vouchsafed  us.  It 
was  so  good  of  you  to  give  us  so  much  of  your  time. 
I  was  really  touched  every  time  you  spared  an  evening 
from  the  Beethoven  table.! 

*  From  Leipzig  Brahms  went  on  to  conduct  his  new  symphony  at 
Bremen,  January  22  ;  at  Amsterdam,  February  4  ;  and  at  The  Hague, 
February  6. 

■j-  Louis  Frappart,  principal  dancer  at  the  Viennese  Opera. 

J  In  a  certain  restaurant. 


AT  HAMBURG  37 

You  did  forget  your  liqueur-flask,  after  all.  My 
state  of  mind  on  discovering  it  was  much  like  my 
small  nephew's,  years  ago,  when  he  discovered  that 
Mathilde  Hartenthal  had  gone  away  without  the  nut- 
crackers he  had  given  her.  '  What  will  she  do,  poor 
thing  ?'  he  exclaimed  feelingly. 

It  is  more  important  that  you  left  a  nightgown ;  1 
shall  send  it  on  to  Utrecht,  laundried  a  snowy  white. 
Here  in  Leipzig  we  go  on  just  the  same.  I  am  study- 
ing the   D  major  duet*  with  W ,  the  tenor,  and 

take  immense  pains  to  get  it  nice ;  but  W can't 

manage  the  Bb-E-A-D  at  the  end,  in  the  Chamber 
scene,  which  makes  singing  together  very  difficult. 

But  goodbye,  goodbye.  I  can't  have  you  saying: 
Talkativeness,  thy  name  is  Woman  !  etc. 

I  hope  you  will  thoroughly  enjoy  the  C  minor,t 
though  I  question  whether  you  can  enjoy  your  own 
music  half  as  much  as  we  do?  Pity  us  a  little  that 
we  cannot  be  there  too,  and  think  of  us  occasionally 
anyway. — Your  most  faithful  admirers, 

LiSL   AND    HeINRICH    H. 

25.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Hamburg,  January  18,  1878.] 

Dear  Friend, — This  is,  to  all  intents  and  purposes, 
a  post-card,  whatever  it  looks  hke;  a  short,  hasty 
scribble,  with  no  allusion  to  the  delightful  days  I 
spent  at  your  house. 

Well,  I  think  every  day  what  a  good  thing  it  is  I  am 
not  entertaining  you  here,  for  the  weather  is  vile  as 
only  Hamburg  weather  can  be — and  is,  on  360  days  in 

*  Op.  75,  No.  3. 

f  The  C  minor  symphony  at  Hamburg  and  Utrecht. 


38  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  year.  (It  is  difficult  enough  to  hit  the  other  five.) 
Not  an  hour,  the  whole  time,  when  you  feel  inclined 
to  go  out,  or  even  look  out  of  the  window. 

But  I  shall  enjoy  doing  the  C  minor.  The  orchestra 
are  so  enthusiastic  that  I  am  really  looking  forward  to 
this  evening.  To-morrow  I  go  to  Bremen  (Karl  Rein- 
thaler);*  Wednesday  to  Utrecht  (Professor  T.  W. 
Engelmann).  I  have  promised  to  give  them  the  D  major 
in  Amsterdam  on  February  4.  The  Utrecht  address  is 
quite  right  for  letters. 

And  now  you  have  the  post-card  revealed.  Would 
you  kindly  send  the  parts  of  the  symphony  to  Am- 
sterdam ?  Address  to  J.  A.  Sillem,  Heerengracht, 
478. 

I  expect  you  know  Simrock's  agent,  though,  and 
only  need  to  hand  the  packet  over  to  him.  You  may 
also — in  sober  truth — call  the  other  parcel  a  duet,  and 
give  it  to  him  to  send  to  Utrecht. 

I  wrote  to  Wiillnert  the  first  day  I  arrived,  but  do 
imagine  our  poor  friend's  torture?  when  she  hears 
that  the  programme  consists  of  the  D  major  symphony, 
Phantasie  with  chorus,  Beethoven,  and — Feuerzauber!^ 
I  will  of  course  write  and  urge  her  to  come,  though  the 
whole  thing  is  so  comic  that  I  shall  find  it  difficult  to 
be  serious  about  it.  I  can't  think  that  anything  will 
induce  her. 

*  Karl  Reinthaler  (1822-1896),  composer  and  conductor  at  Bremen, 
an  enthusiastic  admirer  of  Brahms.  He  was  the  first  to  give  the 
German  Requiem  in  full  at  Bremen  Cathedral  on  April  11,  1868. 

t  Franz  Wiillner  (1832-1902),  conductor  at  Munich  and  Dresden. 

X  Frau  Schumann,  who  was  to  play  the  Beethoven  Phantasie  at 
the  same  concert  with  the  Brahms  symphony  at  Dresden. 

§  Frau  Schumann's  antipathy  to  Wagner  was  so  great  that 
Brahms  feared  she  would  not  play  with  Fcuerzauher  on  the  pro- 
gramme. 


CONCERT  AT  DRESDEN  39 

And  now,  thanks  for — everything,  and  also  for  your 

very  kind  letter.     Rest  assured,  however  many  you 

write  and  however  kind  they  are,  I  shall  consider  it  a 

loan,  and  repay  it  with  interest.     Greetings  to  all  the 

little  brothers  and  sisters,  and  to  Bernstorff.* — Ever 

yours, 

J.Br 

26.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  January  19,  1878. 

Your  welcome  letter  has  just  arrived,  giving  the 
best  of  flavours  to  our  breakfast,  and  we  thank  you  for 
all  the  nice  things  you  say  or  imply.  But  you  must 
really  make  Wullner  change  the  programme.  *  It 
takes  many  hounds  to  kill  a  hare,'  but  one  Feuerzauber 
would  be  Frau  Schumann's  death.  It  is  inconceivable 
that  she  should  play.  There  really  is  a  want  of  deli- 
cacy in  the  arrangement.  How  can  any  audience  be 
expected  to  appreciate  really  artistic  work  and  a 
piece  like  Feuerzauber  on  one  and  the  same  evening  ? 
O  Wullner,  Wullner  !  I  always  thought  you  a  gentle- 
man, but  this  programme  betrays  the  impresario. 
The  glittering  'fire-piece'  will  excite  everybody,  of 
course,  and  the  palm  of  the  evening  goes  to  Wagner. 
*  O,  how  far,  how  far  above,'t  etc.,  are  the  gentle 
D  major,  breathing  beauty,  dropping  balsam  into  the 
soul ;  and  the  Phantasie^  written  for  the  elect — and  to 
have  on  top  of  these,  a  Feuerzauber  !  Why  is  he  so 
impatient,  our  good  Wullner?  Are  we  not  to  have 
all  Wagner's  enchantments  let  loose  in  our  theatres 

*   Eduard  Bernstorff  (1825-1901),  the  anti-Brahms  critic   of   the 
musical  paper  Die  Signalefiir  die  musikalische  Welt. 

f  First  line  of  the  duet  Klosterfrdulein  (Brahms,  Op.  61,  No.  2). 


40  JOHANNE^  BRAHMS 

soon  enough,  and  is  it  not  the  right,  the  only  place  for 

them  ? 

'  Fire  is  mighty  when  watched  by  its  master  ; 
When  fire  is  master  itself — there's  disaster.' 

Frau  Schumann  will  do  quite  right  in  refusing  to 
play,  but  surely  you  can  influence  Wullner  to  a  change 
of  programme  ?  Shake  off  your  indifference  for  once — 
for  the  sake  of  your  dear,  dear  symphony,  too — and 
make  him  understand  that  it  is  inartistic  to  appeal  to  our 
higher  and  our  lower  natures  in  one  evening.  What 
would  Wullner  say,  I  wonder,  to  a  picture  exhibition 
with  a  Raphael  and  a  Makart  hung  side  by  side  ?  But 
here  I  am  repeating  myself  over  and  over  in  my  rage. 
Would  that  you  had  a  spark  of  indignation  and  less 
humour  in  your  composition,  and  had  written  to  Franz 
as  well  as  to  Wullner  ! 

Heinrich  is  sending  your  parts  to  Amsterdam,  and 
packing  his  excitement  in  with  them.  By  the  way,  our 
dear  Frau  von  B.  has  taken  away  my  nurse*  again,  and 
sent  her  off  to  Frau  Emma  at  Utrecht  with  the  birth- 
day presents.  But  they  are  addressed  to  you,  for  you 
are  to  have  the  amusement  of  handing  over  the  nurse 
to  Frau  Engelmann,  accompanied  by  all  the  appropriate 
witticisms.  Give  my  love  to  the  dear  thing,  who  can  do 
so  much  :  play  so  incomparably  with  those  tiny  white 
hands,  laugh  like  a  bird,  bewitch  everybody  —  and 
bring  children  into  the  world,  which  is  surely  the  best 
and  most  wonderful  thing  a  woman  can  do.     Please 

assure  her  of  my  sincere,  ungrudging  admiration. 

***** 

How  glad  I  am  that  you  are  doing  the  D  major  in 
Amsterdam  !  Dear  old  Juliusf  will  hear  it,  and  will  be 
so  pleased. 

*  Probably  a  doll  from  the  fair  at  Leipzig.        f  Julius  R5ntgen. 


*  EDWARD'  41 

Good-bye.    Send  another  '  post-card'  soon,  and  work 
Wullner. 

Do  this — and  accept  my  devotion ;  or  decline — and 
cause  me  much  pain. — Yours, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


27.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig]  January  31,  1878. 

Here  is  your  Eduard*  again.  I  have  taken  the 
liberty  of  falling  more  and  more  hopelessly  in  love 
with  him.  You  have  no  notion  what  a  gorgeous  thing 
it  is.  Please  correct  the  chord  in  the  accompaniment 
on  p.  7,  second  bar,  where  it  should  surely  be  F,  as 
before  ;  not  F  flat. 

I  am  not  enclosing  the  bundle  of  press  notices,  in 
spite  of  your  orders,  for  we  conceived  a  sudden  loath- 
ing for  the  stuff.  It  is  a  shame  to  waste  a  quarter  of  an 
hour  over  it.  I  am  putting  the  precious  pile  in  with 
the  music  to  go  to  Vienna,  where  you  have  at  least  a 
waste-paper  basket  into  which  it  may  be  some  slight 
satisfaction  to  hurl  it.  I  hope  Eduard  will  arrive 
in  time  for  Emma  to  see.  Please  point  out  all  its 
beauties.  Show  her  the  amazing  variety  in  the  accom- 
paniment to  Eduard's  replies — the  'vulture'  verse 
where  it  is  so  subdued,  and  the  right-hand  part  is 
simple  and  monotonous ;  the  change  when  you  come 
to  the  *  roan,'  where  the  subdominant  is  introduced, 
and  the  D  flat  in  the  tenor  (which  was  the  ninth  before) 
has  the  effect  of  something  quite  new ;  then  the  exquisite 
passage  in  the  right  hand  up  to  G  flat  and  down  again 
— you  can  hardly  believe  it  to   be  the  same  melody 

*  Edward,  ballad  for  alto  and  tenor  with  pianoforte,  Op.  75, 
No.  I. 


42  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

as  in  the  beginning;  and  again,  when  the  mother's 
questioning  comes,  it  is  the  same  and  yet  quite  different, 
with  the  gradual  rise  in  pitch  by  three  degrees  up  to 
the  splendid  climax  in  B  flat  minor.  ...  Oh  for  the 
gift  of  words  to  describe  this  masterpiece !  And  how 
natural,  how  necessary  and  exactly  right  it  all  is  !  .  .  . 
Just  as  if  Eduard's  excitement  and  his  mother's  must 
inevitably  have  had  that  note  from  the  very  beginning, 
and  could  have  no  existence  apart  from  the  music. 
And  to  think  that  the  poem  has  lain  there  so  long,  a 
dumb  thing,  until  someone  came  along,  took  it  to  his 
heart,  and  gave  it  to  the  world  again  in  F  minor — his 
own  ! 

But  ours  too ;  for  enjoyment  is  possession.  Or  have 
you  any  objection  to  raise  ? 

Well,  good-bye.  Don't  think  me  unkind,  but — have 
you  written  to  Dresden  ?  I  challenge  you  with  my 
best  tragedy  voice  ! — Kindest  regards, 

Elisabet  H. 

28.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

Amsterdam,  February  3,  1878. 

My  dear  Friend, — If  I  send  these  few  hasty,  whis- 
pered words,  it  is  with  the  full  consciousness  of  their 
inadequacy ;  and  I  wish  I  could  do  anything  better  to 
thank  you  for  your — in  part — admirable,  but  wholly 
kind  and  charming  letter. 

It  was  the  Feuerzauher  dissertation  which  was  so 
admirable. 

I  had  written  to  Frau  Schumann,  hoping  to  persuade 
or  soothe  her.  But  the  spectre  has  no  terrors  for  our 
friend.  She  writes,  quite  casually,  that  of  course  she 
need  not  listen  ! 


IN  HOLLAND  43 

I  have  not  written  to  WiiUner — my  pocket  is  stuffed 
full  of  unanswered  letters — but  I  was  tempted  to  send 
him  your  dissertation.  However,  we  can  let  the  matter 
rest  now.  Unless  Frau  Schumann  changes  her  mind, 
I  shall  go  to  Dresden,  and  hope  you  will  go  too ! 

Holland  is  really  charming ;  I  lose  my  head  over 
it  each  time.  Number  2*  takes  so  well  with  both 
musicians  and  public  that  it  is  not  spoiling  my 
stay.  We  do  it  at  Amsterdam  on  the  fourth  and  the 
eighth,  at  The  Hague  on  the  sixth ;  besides  which 
Number  i  is  being  done  at  a  sort  of  people's  concert 
at  Amsterdam  on  the  fifth ! 

But  you  rather  exaggerate  my  communicativeness 
in  thinking  I  wanted  Edward  (I  beg  your  pardon : 
EduardY  back.f  When  I  read  the  kind  things  you 
say  about  it,  for  instance,  I  feel  distinctly  annoyed, 
and  say  to  myself:  'Why  did  you  not  take  more 
trouble  ?  It  ought  to  have  been  much  nicer.'  1  must 
be  mistaken  of  course ! — but  it  is  a  curious  sensation. 

I  leave  on  the  ninth.     Have  you  nothing  else  to 

send  ?     By  the  way,  I  have  not  yet  thanked  you  for 

anything,  not  even  for  the  amount  of  trouble  you  took 

over  that  'more  important'  article.     But  the  best  of 

all  these  parcels  is  that  they  bring  letters  with  them, 

and  these  deserve  more  thanks.    For  to-day,  however, 

only  kindest  messages  to  you  both  and  a  few  others. — 

Always  yours  most  sincerely, 

J.  Brahms. 

^  Heaven  help  me  if  I  should  write  Ediiard  for 
Edward  or  sinfonie  for  symphony ! 

*  The  D  major  symphony. 

f  That  is  to  say,  he  was  in  no  hurry  to  publish  it.  It  appeared  in 
the  autumn  of  that  year,  however. 


44  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  February  5,  1878. 

My  dear  Friend, — Please  don't  jeer  at  my  poor  little 
epistles,  or  I  shall  be  afraid  to  go  on  scribbling,  and 
that  would  be  grievous.  I  do  get  a  little  something 
in  return — as  witness  your  last  from  Amsterdam.  We 
were  quite  resigned  to  having  Julius  Rontgen's  account 
for  our  first,  so  imagine  our  shame  and  surprise  at 
receiving  your  letter.  We  had  heard  from  the  Engel- 
manns  how  you  were  being  spoiled  in  Holland;  how 
men  and  women,  leaders  of  the  orchestra  and  chorus, 
were  all  fighting  for  the  honour  of  crowning  you  with 
laurels.  The  Dutch  are  evidently  by  no  means  so 
cold-blooded  as  is  commonly  reported.  It  would  be 
amusing  to  start  an  inquiry  as  to  why  the  Middle- 
German  pulse  beats  so  feebly,  and  consoling  to  discover 
some  ethnological  solution.  But  I  did  not  mean  to 
touch  on  this  sore  point ;  I  set  out  to  thank  you,  for 
I  do  think  it  so  very  kind  that  you  found  time  to  speed 
a  message  into  our  quiet  Humboldtstrasse  in  the  midst 
of  these  exciting  times,  where  you  go  from  triumph  to 
triumph.     But  you  knew  how  grateful  we  should  be. 

Heaven  preserve  me  from  writing  Edward  wrong 
again  to  incur  your  mockery !  I  had  better  write 
Brahmst  for  Brahms!* 

^  id  Ik  *  * 

Indeed  I  do  not  consider  you  *  communicative.'  If 
you  were,  that  evening  when  you  fetched  one  duet 
after  the  other  out  of  your  box  would  not  be  such 

*  The  name  Brahms  is  still  written  with  the  final  t  by  some  of 
the  composer's  relations  in  Holstein,  and  his  father  was  sometimes 
addressed  in  that  way  in  Hamburg.  Brahms  had  himself  a  peculiar 
aversion  to  it. 


IN  HOLLAND  45 

a  fabulous  event  in  our  memory.     But  you  really  did 
ask  to  have  the  duets  back. 

Yesterday  you  unconsciously  performed  several 
deeds  of  mercy.  You  raised  the  sick,  healed  the 
broken-hearted,  fed  the  hungry,  and  gave  drink  to 
the  thirsty.  We  went  to  see  poor  Holstein,*  and 
played  him  the  C  minor!  in  our  best  duet-fashion, 
which  is,  as  you  know,  exemplary.  He  lay  on  the 
sofa,  bright-eyed,  nursing  the  score,  and  drank  in  the 
familiar  sounds,  this  being  the  first  time  he  has  been 
permitted  to  refresh  his  memory.  You  can  do  many 
things,  my  dear  Friend,  and  this  power  to  gladden  the 
heart  of  a  poor  sick  fellow  and  charm  back  the  colour 
into  his  cheeks,  the  brightness  into  his  eyes,  is  not 
by  any  means  the  least  of  them. 

Heaven's  greeting  to  you ;  and  please  greet,  in  your 
turn,  Julius  Rontgen  from  us.  Poor  boy,  how  hard 
both  he  and  his  parents  found  the  parting! 

Good-bye,  good-bye.  Make  many  others  happy,  and 
be  happy  yourself. 

Give  us  a  thought  now  and  again. — Your 

Herzogenbergs. 

Kirchnert  has  been  playing  us  his  arrangement  of 
the  E  flat  variations.  It  is  quite  excellent ;  only  an 
enthusiast  could  have  done  it. 

*  Franz  von  Holstein  (1826- 1878),  composer  of  opera,  was  then  on 
his  death-bed. 

t  The  first  symphony. 

X  Theodor  Kirchner  (1823  - 1903),  composer  and  pianist,  who 
arranged  several  of  Brahms's  works.  He  arranged  the  variations 
in  question  (Op.  23),  originally  written  as  a  duet,  for  pianoforte 
solo. 


46  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

30.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  February  19,  1878.] 

My  dear  Friend, — It  would  be  nice  to  hear  from 
you  again,  if  only  a  line.  Do  tell  us  at  least  whether 
you  have  decided  to  go  to  Dresden  for  the  D  major. 
We  should  love  to  go,  and,  as  luck  will  have  it,  we 
could  arrange  it  nicely.  Julius  Rontgen  made  us 
waver  by  saying  you  intended  to  stay  in  Vienna  and 
work.  But  surely  you  will  not  fail  Frau  Schumann 
on  the  top  of  her  other  trials — "^oor Feuerzauber  v'\ct\m\ 
Julius  Rontgen  has  some  amazing  stories  of  the  way 
people  lost  their  heads  in  Amsterdam.  Would  that 
anyone  here  would  do  the  same ;  but  we  shall  never 
live  to  see  that ! 

^  .^  ^  ^  .^ 

Rubinstein*  will  be  sent  off  to-morrow  in  the  bad 

company  of 1  and  the  Leipzig  press  notices.     This 

note  is  merely  their  passport.  My  poor  Heinrich  has  a 
nasty  cough,  and  is  quite  knocked  up.  The  worst  of 
it  is,  he  must  go  through  with  the  rehearsals  until  the 
concert!  on  Saturday.  But  *  Abide  with  us,  for  it  is 
toward  evening,' §  is  such  heavenly  music  that  it  ought 
to  make  Heinz  well  again. 

Good-bye  for  to-day.  Kindest  messages  to  the 
Fabers, 

And  don't  let  your  pen  go  rusty !  By  the  way,  if 
you  are  ever  at  a  loss  to  know  what  to  write,  please  do 
some  solfeggi,  with   or  without  words ;   there  are  so 

*  Probably  a  new  pianoforte  work  of  Anton  Rubinstein's, 
t  Pieces  by  a  Leipzig  composer. 

\  One  of  the   Bach-Verein  performances  which   Herzogenberg 
conducted,  while  his  wife  accompanied  and  sang. 
§  An  Easter  cantata  by  Bach. 


*  WALPURGISN  ACHT '  47 

few  of  these  elaborate  vocal  pieces.*  I  now  sing 
Bach's  organ  sonatas,  which  give  me  intense  delight ; 
but  how  nice  to  have  anything  as  elaborate  written 
actually  for  the  voice — at  least  eight  quavers  to  every 
word  !  That  would  be  glorious.  Julius  Rontgen,  on 
the  other  hand,  hankers  after  finger  exercises  from  your 
pen,  with  the  hand  in  *  fixed  '  position.  It  seems  that  in 
Amsterdam  the  very  tiniest  damsels  want  to  play 
Brahms,  you  Pied  Piper  ! 
My  poor  dear  joins  me  in  all  kind  messages. 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


31.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  March  i,  1878. 

You  know  the  delight  with  which  we  in  Humboldt- 
strasse  hail  every  shaving  from  your  workshop  ;  how 
much  greater  our  delight  over  this  thrilling  witch- 
duet, f  which  is  one  unbroken  flow  of  inspiration. 
That  nice  old  weather-worn  manuscript  paper  suits 
it,  too.t  The  words  seem  to  me  quite  blood-curdling,§ 
and  I  was  furious  with  an  enlightened  professor  to 
whom  I  lent  the  poem  the  other  day.  It  only  struck 
him  as  intensely  ludicrous,  poor  fellow  !  He  was  not 
brought  up  on  Grimm's  fairy-tales.  I  am  glad  to  say 
the  duet  sends  cold  shudders  down  my  back  every 
time  I  play  it,  although  I  know  quite  well  by  now  that 

*  Brahms  did  not  respond  to  this  desire,  perhaps  considering  her 
complaint  unfounded.  He  was  better  acquainted  with  the  old  Italian 
writers  of  solfeggi. 

t  Walpurgisnacht,  duet  for  two  sopranos,  Op.  75,  No.  4. 

%  Brahms  had  a  predilection  for  old  manuscript-paper,  which  he 
bought  as  waste-paper. 

§  By  V^illibald  Alexis. 


48  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  mother  has  flown  up  the  chimney.  I  am  going  to 
practise  it  with  the  youngest  Rontgen  girl.  Her 
innocent  childish  soprano  is  the  very  thing  for  the 
witch's  daughter,  and  I  intend  to  distinguish  myself  as 
the  witch.  And  how  delightful  it  all  is  again !  The 
whole  situation  is  so  clear  from  the  very  opening,  and 
I  like  the  way  the  bass  doubles  the  voice  in  "Ses/  heute 
der  erste  Mai,  liebes  Kind,'  and,  farther  on,  the  introduc- 
tion of  the  frightened  daughter's  motif  into  the  accom- 
paniment to  the  mother's  replies  (let  anyone  with  a 
desire  to  shudder  and  shake  come  and  listen),  which 
makes  that  part  as  much  a  duet  as  if  the  daughter's 
voice  were  heard.  Of  course  the  answer  is  the  ques- 
tion inverted — that  one  would  expect !  And  how  it 
works  up  to  a  climax  at  the  end — there  is  a  family 
resemblance  to  Edward  there  !  All  this  you  know  so 
much  better  than  I,  that  it  is  absurd  for  me  to  go 
on  chattering;  I  feel  quite  ashamed  of  having  let  my 
pen  run  on  thus  far.     But  you  are  so  meek  ! 

Do  you  mind  if  I  sing  Ob  ini  Dorf  wohl  Hexen  sind  ? 
with  ob  on  the  strong  beat  (D) — in  deference  to  Herr 
Kipke,*  let  us  say  !  It  fits  in  quite  nicely.  Old  Herr 
Engelmannf  was  here  to-day,  and  read  out  with  pride 
your  fine  panegyric  on  the  infant.J  What  a  farce, 
when  the  indignant  grandmother  told  us  that  you 
hardly  deigned  a  glance  at  the  new  arrival ! 

Our  Bach  concert,  which  took  place  a  week  ago, 
went  off  brilliantly,  although  our  organist  was  taken 
ill  on  the  very  day.  Amanda  Mair,  the  pretty 
Swedish  girl,  came  to  our  rescue,  and  acquitted  her- 

*  Karl  Kipke,  a  music  critic,  who  accused  Brahms  of  faulty 
declamation. 

t  The  father  of  T.  W.  Engelmann. 

X  Brahms's  letter  of  congratulation  to  the  family  at  Utrecht. 


CONCERT  AT  DRESDEN  49 

self  admirably.  Women  are  not  always  to  be  despised, 
you  see. 

Good-bye  now,  and  thank  you  again.  Whenever 
you  feel  moved  to  give  me  a  great  treat,  send  me  some 
more.  Shall  I  have  to  pass  on  the  Witch  to  someone 
else  presently  ?  (Fear-motif  in  D  flat !)  And  are  you 
going  to  Dresden  ?  And  Frau  Schumann,  and  the 
Feuerzauher?  'S  ist  hetite  der  erste  Mdrz^  liebes  Kind^ 
and  we  are  still  in  the  dark. 

Herr  Simrock*  was  inquiring  anxiously  as  to  your 
movements  to-day;  but  you  are  going  to  let  poor 
*  Toggenburg '  Astorf  have  the  duets,  are  you  not  ? 

'  Good  deeds  do  make  us  like  unto 
The  blessed  angel  train  ; 
And  at  the  last,  if  so  we  do, 
The  heavenly  realm  we  gain.' 

Auf  Wiedersehen  in  Dresden. — Your  most  grateful 

E.  H. 

32.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

HuMBOLDTSTRASSE,  [LEIPZIG]  March  10,  1878. 

My  dear  Friend, — I  must  absolutely  write  and  tell 
you  with  what  delight  we  look  back  to  those  days  in 
Dresden. t  The  beloved  D  major  haunts  us  waking 
or  sleeping,  and  we  don't  know  how  to  thank  you 
enough  for  a  happiness  such  as  seldom  comes  our 
way.  But  I  am  also  impelled  to  write  for  another 
reason.  I  am  going  to  quarrel  with  you !  I  hope  we 
are  on  a  footing  which  permits  of  an  occasional  word 
in  earnest  as  well  as  in  jest,  and  you  must  please  take  it 

*  Brahms's  publisher. 
t  Head  of  the  firm  of  Rieter-Biedermann. 

X  The  D  major  symphony  was  performed  by  the  Dresden  Court 
Orchestra  on  Ash  Wednesday,  March  6,  at  the  Royal  Opera  House. 

4 


so  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

meekly  from  one  of  the  most  assiduous  of  your  crowd 
of  incense-burners.  On  this  cheerful  assumption  I 
venture  to  proceed. 

You  were  so  sweet  and  good  at  Schillerstrasse, 
and  I  can't  tell  you  how  much  I  enjoyed  hearing  you 
talk  in  the  window-seat  (after  spilling  all  that  liqueur), 
and  setting  my  good  brother's  little  paradoxes  to 
rights  with  your  convincing  logic.     Then  the  name 

of  that  worm cropped  up,  and,  sure  enough,  you 

treated  us  to  the  old  story  of  his  praising  Heinrich's 
quartet*  and,  in  the  same  winter,  dismissing  yours 
(the  B|?)t  with  contempt — all  this  with  a  certain  com- 
placent irony,  as  who  should  say :  Of  course  the  man 
has  made  a  fool  of  himself  for  all  time.  Now  it  was 
no  impartial  third  person  to  whom  you  were  speaking, 
but  just  the  one  man  whom  you  know  to  be  the  first 
to  laugh  at  such  an  ignoramus ;  no  puffed-up  creature 
intending  to  make  England  the  centre  of  his  activities, 
whose  opinion  of  himself  needs  modification,  but  one 
who  does  not  think  himself  worthy  to  unlace  your 
boots,  a  seeker,  a  humble  learner,  who  is  a  thousand 
times  more  vexed  by  such  over-rating  than  by  the 
most  withering  adverse  criticism,  simply  because  he 
learns  nothing  from  it.  I  cannot  understand  how  you — 
you  who  ought  to  be  quite  indiff'erent  to  such  incidents 
— could  twice  be  guilty  of  such  ungenerosity  (I  can 
only  call  it  that),  and  it  hurts  me  even  more  on  your 
account  than  on  Heinrich's,  sad  as  it  is  that  you  should 
so  misjudge  him.  I  was  quite  ready  to  pick  this 
quarrel  with  you  last  year,  but  Heckmannt  happened 

*  One  of  the  three  pubHshed  later  as  Op.  42  by  Rieter-Biedermann, 
and  dedicated  to  Brahms. 

t  The  Quartet  in  B  flat,  Op.  67. 

t  Robert  Heckmann  (1848- 1891),  violinist  and  leader  of  a  string 
quartet. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  QUARTET  51 

to  be  there,  and  I  could  not  find  a  suitable  occasion. 
Also  I  was  a  little  afraid  of  being  suppressed  by  some 
cool  witticism,  though  I  should  not  fear  that  now. 
But  let  me  tell  you  straight  out  that  it  was  neither 
kind  nor  just  in  you,  and  therefore  so  unlike  you  that 
I  can  only  hope  it  was  a  drop  of  alien  blood,  which 
you  may  now  get  rid  of  by  opening  that  particular 
small  vein  without  the  least  danger  of  bleeding  to 
death  ! 

The  worst  that  can  befall  me  is  to  have  you  say 
again  pityingly,  *  Poor  child !  poor  child !'  while  you 
think :  If  one  had  to  consider  one's  words  to  that 
extent !  But,  don't  you  see,  it  is  really  rather  a 
different  matter  when  the  person  you  misjudge  and 
wound  is  just  the  one  who  would  lay  down  his  life  for 
you,  who  loves  you  as  a  poodle  or  a  child  loves,  or  as  a 
Catholic  loves  his  patron  saints,  even  though  he  may 
not  have  the  gift  of  showing  it.  But  it  is  I  who  suffer 
most  in  this  case,  and  I  assure  you  he  knows  nothing 
of  this  audacious  lecture,  but  goes  to  sleep  with  a  good 
conscience,  assured  that  it  will  all  come  right  with 
sunrise.  His  wife  is  a  bit  of  a  firebrand,  however,  and 
cannot  resist  flaring  up  in  your  face.  You  deserve  it 
this  time,  too.  But  I  feel  sad  as  well  as  angry;  for 
nothing  distresses  me  more  than  to  bear  a  grudge 
against  one  on  whom  I  should  like  to  heap  kindness 
without  reserve,  respect  without  measure. 

I  know  you  don't  mean  to  be  cruel  at  such  times.  It 
is  a  kind  of  *  black  dog '  (no  intimate  acquaintance, 
thank  Heaven !)  on  your  back  which  prompts  these 
speeches,  so  deadly  in  their  power  to  wound  others. 
If  you  knew  how  deadly,  you  would  give  them  up  ;  for 
you  are  kind  enough  at  bottom,  and  would  never 
consciously  throw  scorn  on  true  affection. 

4—2 


52  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

So  do  pull  up  this  weed  in  your  garden,  and,  above 
all,  don't  hate  me  for  this  interminable  letter.  Women 
never  can  be  brief,  you  know. 

Until  I  have  just  one  kind  short  line  from  you  (you  will 
then  be  absolved  for  a  whole  year!),  I  shall  soothe  my 
Herzeleid  with  your  Choral-Vorspiel*  which  I  am  happy 
to  say  I  know  by  heart,  and  can  play  to  myself  in  the 
dusk. — My  profound  respects  to  Johannes  Brahms, 
and — a  hearty  shake  of  his  hand. 

ElISABET   HERZOGENBERG.t 


33.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  March  13,  1878. 
#  *  *  *  # 

.  .  .  Well,  in  future  I  will  take  no  notice  of  your  most 
cutting  remarks.  It  would,  however,  be  better  if  you 
reformed  a  little.  .  .  .  Very  many  thanks  for  the 
Herzeleide-Vorspiel.  We  are  so  fond  of  it  that  it  gives 
us  quite  a  peculiar  pleasure  to  possess  a  morsel  of  it  in 
the  living  form  of  your  handwriting.  I  drummed  it 
through  to  Kirchner  when  he  was  here  with  Astor,  and 
roused  him  to  great  enthusiasm.  I  can't  get  over  the 
way  everything  is  expression  in  this  piece.  You  can  sit 
down  and  revel  in  it  without  ever  having  enough,  and 
all  the  art  in  it  seems  designed  solely  to  heighten  the 
pathos.  .  .  . 

Herr  H ,  the  high-priest  of  Dresden  critics,  is  of 

course  at  a  loss  to  understand  why  the  first  part  of  the 

*  Ch or al-Vor spiel  and  Fugueiov organ  on  '  0  Traurigkcit,  0  Hcrzeleid,' 
which  was  pubhshed  as  a  supplement  to  the  Musikalisches  Wochenblatt. 

f  Brahms's  answer  to  this  letter  is  missing.  It  is  obvious  from 
the  following  letter  that  he  did  reply,  and  succeeded  in  appeasing 
Frau  von  Herzogenberg. 


DRESDEN  CRITICS  53 

first  movement  of  the  D  major  is  repeated.     He  also 

inquires  why  you  don't  confine  yourself  to  chamber 

music,  in  which  you  have  done  some  really  good  work, 

and  incidentally  try  your  hand  at  musical  drama,  that 

main  stream  into  which  all  currents  must  inevitably 

flow  !    You  are  aware,  I  suppose,  that  the  theme  of  the 

Adagio  is  slightly  contrapuntal  ?     They  made  a  lot  of 

charming  discoveries  about  you  in  Dresden,  but  they 

admit  the  great  success.     I  wish  they  would  abuse  you 

instead,  the  idiots  !    Fancy  classifying  Riese's*  singing 

as  refined,  sincere,   and  in  the  spirit  of  Beethoven  ! 

After  all,  public  performances  are  horrid.     Who  are 

all  these  people,  I  should  like  to  know  ? — Good-bye, 

you  kind  person.     Do  really  reform  ;  it  is  well  worth 

while. 

Elisabet  H. 

If  I  only  knew  what  you  had  scratched  out  at  the 
bottom  ! 

34.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  March,  1878.] 

My  dear  Friend, — Here  is  the  Nottebohmf  docu- 
ment, which  I  prefer  not  to  keep  back  until  the  spirit 
moves  me  to  letter-writing. 
...  I  will  just  add  many  thanks  for  the  quartet.t 
A  mere  glance  through  it  has  done  me  good,  and 
I  am  looking  forward  to  a  pleasant  hour  with  it  this 
evening. — In  great  haste,  yours  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

*  A  tenor  from  the  Dresden  Opera,  who  sang  Beethoven's  A  n  die 
feme  Geliebte  at  the  same  concert  at  which  the  Brahms  symphony 
was  performed. 

t  See  note,  Letter  3.  %  The  quartet  mentioned  in  Letter  32, 


54  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

35.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  3,  1878.] 

The  undersigned  begs  to  inform  his  esteemed  patrons 

that  letters  addressed  poste  restante,  Naples,  will  find  him 

from  April  14th  to  20th.*     From  the  20th  onwards — 

Rome.     He  travels  with  Billroth,!  and  requests  orders 

for  writing  letters,  amputating  legs,  or  anything  in  the 

world.      Orders    carefully   executed    by   himself  and 

companion.     Further  plans — none.     Will  probably  be 

back  in  Vienna  by  the  middle  of  May. — Etc.     Kindest 

re2:ards, 

J.  Br. 

36.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  April  9,  1878.] 

My  dear  Friend, — It  was  very  nice  of  you  to  give 
us  a  sign  before  leaving  for  Italy.  I  hope  you  will 
thoroughly  enjoy  viewing  the)  Promised  Land  through 
your  own   eyes,   not   those   of  Adolf  Staar+   and   his 

*  Brahms  started  on  his  first  ItaHan  tour  on  April  8,  accompanied 
by  Billroth  and  Goldmark.  Goldmark  stayed  behind  in  Rome  to 
superintend  the  final  rehearsals  of  his  opera,  The  Queen  of  Sheba, 
while  the  other  two  went  on  to  Naples,  Billroth  being  anxious  that 
Brahms  should  gain  a  thorough  impression  of  Italy.  '  I  should  be 
quite  content  to  have  seen  Rome,'  wrote  poor  Brahms  to  Ernst  Frank. 
'  On  the  way  back  we  shall  see  it,  and  anything  else  that  turns  up, 
with  thorough  desultoriness.'  On  the  return  journey  he  stayed  for 
some  time  at  Portschach,  where  he  found  his  Viennese  friends. 
Dr.  Kupelwieser  and  Dr.  Franz.  'The  first  day  was  so  delightful 
that  I  had  to  stay  one  more,'  he  wrote  to  Arthur  Faber.  *  But  the 
second  day  was  so  delightful  that  I  have  settled  down  altogether  for 
the  present.' 

t  Theodor  Billroth  (1829-1894),  the  famous  Viennese  surgeon,  a 
passionate  music-lover,  and  an  intimate  friend  of  Brahms  since  their 
first  meeting  at  Zurich  in  1866. 

J  Adolf  Staar,  a  well-known  writer  on  Italy. 


FIRST  ITALIAN  TOUR  55 

aesthetic  followers.  I  must  confess  I  have  not  read 
them.  Swallowing  impressions  second-hand,  when 
one  would  so  much  prefer  tasting  them  oneself  some 
day,  is  too  maddening.  I  can't  conceive  of  you  as  a 
tourist — that  is,  as  a  person  setting  out  to  enjoy  things 
— your  usual  function  being  to  provide  enjoyment  for 
others.  Now  you  suddenly  forsake  the  passive  for  the 
active  role.  How  fresh  it  all  will  be,  and  how  greedily 
you  will  absorb  all  the  beauty  at  which  you  have  had 
up  to  now  the  rare  good  sense  not  to  nibble ! 

We  heard  yesterday  from  Frau  Schumann  of  your 
Italian  journey,  and  should  have  written  to  congratulate 
you  to-day  even  without  your  card.  We  think,  all  the 
same,  that  you  are  having  a  prodigious  spell  of  idle- 
ness. What  in  the  world  will  become  of  us  if  you  give 
your  pen  too  long  a  rest  ? 

Unlike  you,  we  are  not  having  a  gay  time — at  least, 
I  am  not.  We  have  just  returned  from  my  poor  old 
uncle's  funeral  at  Dresden.  .  .  . 

You  will  be  wondering  why  I  am  writing  on  these 
scraps  of  paper.  I  left  the  key  of  my  writing-table  in 
Dresden,  and  am  condemned  to  sit  before  locked 
drawers,  cut  off  from  pens,  ink  and  paper,  and  all 
that  makes  life  worth  living.  My  only  resource  is  a 
small  copying-case  which  my  brother  has  given  me. 
It  has  the  advantage  of  registering  double  every- 
thing one  writes,  but  to  appreciate  that  one  must 
be  writing  lists  for  the  laundress  or  be  a  celebrity. 
Happy  you,  who  are  out  of  reach  of  my  double 
letters  !  Otherwise  I  might  have  sent  you  the  first 
movement  of  the  D  major,  written  out  from  memory, 
which  I  want  you  to  be  so  good  as  to  look  at 
some  day.  Frau  Schumann  goes  so  far  as  to  call  it 
quite  a  possible  pianoforte  arrangement,  but  I  can't 


56  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

altogether  trust  the  dear  woman,  who  is  too  good  for 
this  world.  Well,  as  it  happens,  you  escape  this  inflic- 
tion, a  further  cause  for  congratulation.  So  dear  Frau 
Schumann  has  decided  on  Frankfurt.*  I  only  pray  she 
may  be  anything  like  as  happy  there  as  she  deserves. 
.  .  .  And  Arthur  ?t  Is  he  there  ?  You  do  not 
mention  him  any  more  than  the  chamberlain  of  the 
Queen  of  Sheba.t 

And  now  accept  all  our  good  wishes.  We  really  are 
very  glad  that  you  are  having  such  a  good  time. 
I  hope  the  sunny  Italian  landscape  will  smile  on  you 
as  effectually  as  did  the  Carinthian,  so  that  you  bring 
home  as  rich  a  store  of  melodies  as  last  year.  The 
critics  will  know  so  well  how  to  account  for  them  all ! 

Good-bye.  Be  happy,  and  send  an  occasional  post- 
card our  way. — Yours  sincerely, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


37.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  May  13,  1878. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Our  poor  Holstein§  is  sink- 
ing fast,  and  can  only  last  three  or  four  weeks  at  most. 
He  is  in  constant  agony.  The  doctors  diagnosed  it 
first  as  hardening  of  the  stomach,  then  as  cancer ;  no 
cure  is  possible.  His  mind  is  quite  clear,  however, 
and  it  is  touching  to  see  his  thoughtfulness  for  all 
around  him.  He  is  all  consolation  and  courage.  I 
never  saw  a  more  affecting  end.  If  you  could  see 
how  the  poor  fellow's  eyes  light  up  at  every  sign  of 

*  Frau  Schumann  left  Berlin  to  settle  at  Frankfurt  in  1878,  where 
she  was  Professor  at  Dr.  Hoch's  Conservatorium  until  a  few  years 
before  her  death  in  1896. 

f  Arthur  Faber.  %  Goldmark.  §  Cf.  Letter  29. 


DEATH  OF  HOLSTEIN  57 

affection  from  far  or  near,  you  would  send  him  some 
last  message  yourself  He  has  always  been  so  devoted 
to  you.  Won't  you  write  him  a  friendly  line  or  two  ? 
He  is  worthy  of  being  mourned  by  the  best  of  us. 

We  see  him  nearly  every  day,  and  have  watched  the 
dreadfully  rapid  development  of  his  disease,  the  germ 
of  which  he  must  have  carried  for  years.  His  appear- 
ance changed  quite  suddenly.  Up  to  yesterday  he 
was  inclined  to  talk,  easily  amused  and  interested  in 
everything.  His  unhappy  wife*  broke  down  entirely 
after  the  consultation  three  weeks  ago,  when  his 
danger  was  first  recognised,  and  even  lost  her  self- 
possession  before  him,  after  bearing  up  so  long  in  a 
way  that  astonished  us.  Now  she  is  as  if  transfigured 
by  his  touching  attitude.  The  whole  house  is  like 
some  beautiful  church  where  it  is  good  to  rest  awhile. 
Pain  seems  less  in  evidence,  and  there  are  gleams  of 
inspiration  which  pierce  one  to  the  very  soul. 

We  know  what  an  interest  you  took  in  him,  and 
will  write  again  soon.  In  a  few  days  we  leave  Leipzig, 
unwillingly  enough,  and  only  because  we  are  needed 
elsewhere  ;  but  we  shall  have  news  every  day. 

My  dear  wife  joins  in  kindest  regards. — Ever  yours 

sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 


38.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[PoRTSCHACH,  May  17,  1878.] 

My  GOOD  Friend, — Your  sad  account  of  poor  Holstein 
was  so  unexpected  that  I  was   as   much   shocked  as 

*  Hedwig  von  Holstein,  nSc  Salomon  (1819-1897),  whose  fine 
character  Helene  von  Vesque  has  immortalized  in  her  novel  Eine 
Gliickliche. 


58  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

pained.  I  find  it  hopeless  to  write  to  him,  or  even  to 
her.  Were  I  in  similar  case,  I  should  not  expect  it 
from  my  best  friend.  Yet  I  know  that  women  demand 
such  consolation  ;  and  I  therefore  ask  you  to  act  as 
my  interpreter  for  the  moment.  She  is  bound  to  feel 
your  departure  very  keenly,  poor  thing !  Personal 
sympathy  is  the  greatest  comfort  after  all,  and  a  real 
help ;  but  writing  to  inquire  for  news,  when  you  know 
it  can  only  be  bad  and  have  no  hope  of  improvement, 
is  tragic.  ...  I  seem  to  remember  your  telling  me 
you  were  going  to  stay  with  Dr.  Oberhofer  in  Vienna  ? 
I  met  him  in  Rome  and  was  reminded  of  it. 

I  should  be  able  to  see  you  in  Vienna,  unless  I  had 
to  go  to  Dusseldorf  after  all.* 

Give  my  love  to  the  poor  invalid.  What  will  his 
unfortunate  wife  do  when  it  is  all  over  ?  Who  will 
help  her  over  the  first  terrible  days  ?  Is  Frau  Dr. 
Seeburgt  there?     Kindest  regards. — Yours, 

J.  Brahms. 

*  Brahms  was  to  have  gone  to  Dusseldorf  at  Whitsuntide  to 
conduct  his  second  symphon}^  at  the  Fifty-fifth  Lower  Rhine  Festival, 
but  gave  it  up,  nominally  on  a  question  of  clothes,  actually  because 
he  could  not  tear  himself  from  his  work,  being  in  a  productive  mood. 
On  May  20  he  writes  to  Arthur  Faber  :  '  They  want  me  to  go  to 
Germany  for  the  Festival,  which  means  a  dress-coat  and  decollete  ! 
I  must  think  it  over.'  In  July  he  writes  to  Frau  Bertha  Faber  : 
'  First  your  husband  fails  to  send  me  an  old  coat ;  then,  instead  of  a 
nice  waistcoat,  he  sends  one  that  could  only  have  been  left  hanging 
in  the  cupboard  by  an  oversight.  I  should  have  been  obliged  to  buy 
a  new  one  at  Dusseldorf,  and  have  o«  that  account  declined  to  go — the 
only  thing  to  do  in  my  circumstances.'  Obviously,  these  excuses  are 
not  meant  to  be  taken  seriously.  Joachim  conducted  in  his  place. 
The  symphony  was  enthusiastically  received,  and  the  third  movement 
had  to  be  repeated. 

"I"  Frau  von  Holstein's  sister. 


A  MOTET  59 

39.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

[Arnoldstein  im  Gailtale] 

Haus  Samek,  August  10,  1878. 

My  dear  Friend, — The  worthy  bearer  of  these  lines 
is  also  taking  a  hat  to  Portschach,  which  you  will  be 
so  kind  as  to  appropriate  for  your  own  use.  It  is 
own  brother  to  that  hat  of  Heinrich's,  to  which  you 
took  rather  a  fancy,  and  will  press  less  heavily  on 
your  forehead  than  your  dark  felt.  My  mother  had 
another  in  her  trunk,  and  is  quite  delighted  to  present 
it  to  you.  Knowing  your  taste,  I  should  like  to  have 
sewn  a  ribbon  round  it,  but  it  would  spoil  the  style, 
and  therefore  cannot  be  done  !  .  .  . 

We  still  feast  on  those  happy  hours  when  we  were 
rain-bound  at  your  house.  I  am  so  glad  you  allowed 
me  to  bring  the  motet*  to  Arnoldstein,  for  my  stupid 
eyes  are  slow  at  taking  in  anything  of  that  sort  right 
down  to  the  smallest  details.  First  I  have  only  a 
delicious  vague  impression,  such  as  one  receives  on 
entering  the  nave  of  a  cathedral,  at  sunset,  say ;  all  is 
light  and  colour  with  just  a  hint  of  the  glorious  art 
which  must  have  conceived  the  whole  effect.  But  to 
see  it  all  with  understanding  eyes  takes  leisure  and 
daylight.  Once  I  am  imbued  with  the  spirit  of  it,  I 
can  single  out  each  separate  feature,  each  beautiful 
line,  for  the  object  of  my  devotions,  and  I  know  of 
nothing  more  enjoyable. 

Our  little  English  friend t  has  just  written  me  that 

*  Warum  ist  das  Licht  gegebcn  den  Miihseligcn  ?  from  two  motets 
for  mixed  chorus,  unaccompanied,  Op.  74,  No.  i,  published  by 
Simrock,  1879. 

t  Ethel  Smyth,  pianist  and  composer,  at  that  time  studying  with 
Herzogenberg.  Her  compositions  include  three  operas  :  Fatitasio, 
produced  at  Weimar  in  1898;  Dcr  Wald,  on  the  Continent  and  at 


6o  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

she  has  drilled  three  entirely  unmusical  singers  so 
thoroughly  in  the  alto,  tenor  and  bass  parts  of  the 
Lieheslieder^^  that  they  are  now  able  to  sing  them  with 
her  quite  satisfactorily.  She  is  going  to  '  inoculate ' 
the  folks  in  her  neighbourhood,  as  she  puts  it,  with 
Brahms,  by  means  of  a  small  concert  to  include  the 
Liebeslieder,  Mainacht,  Von  Eiviger  Liehe^\  and  the 
Andante  from  the  pianoforte  concerto !  She  is  con- 
vinced she  has  the  most  suitable  possible  programme. 

And  now  for  a  favour.  My  mother  is  so  afraid 
that,  if  anything  happened  to  our  little  onej  here,  we 
should  not  be  able  to  get  a  doctor.  Are  there  none  in 
Portschach  ?     Do  tell  us  the  name  of  one. 

Farewell,  and  let  me  thank  you  again  for  all  your 
good  deeds. — Yours  most  sincerely, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

Be  sure  you  come  to  Arnoldstein ! 


40.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Portschach,  August  12,  1878.] 

My  dear  Friend, — There  is  only  a  young  consump- 
tive doctor  here  who  is  undergoing  treatment  himself, 
and  would  certainly  not  be  able  to  go  and  see  your 
sister. 

Let  me  save  up  all  the  rest  for  my  visit  to  Arnold- 
stein :   my  thanks  for  your  visit  to  me  here,  a  long 

Covent  Garden ;  Strandrechi  (The  Wreckers),  at  Leipzig  and  Prague, 
1907 — concert  performance  under  Nikisch  in  London,  1908  ; 
besides  various  chamber-music  works. 

*  Waltzes  for  pianoforte  duet,  with  vocal  quartet  ad  lib.,  Op.  52. 

f  Two  songs  from  Op.  43. 

X  Frau  Elisabet's  sister. 


A  MOTET  6i 

argument  about  the  hat  (which  is  really  much  more 
suitable  for  H.),  and  so  on. 

Your  exchange  of  the  motets*  was  a  surprise — 
unpleasant  in  so  far  as  your  possession  of  mine  goes ; 
pleasant,  on  the  other  hand,  because  it  gives  me  an 
opportunity  of  looking  through  the  other  more  care- 
fully.    It  both  demands  and  repays  study. 

Please  tell  me  the  name  of  your  house,  and  whether 
there  is  a  hotel  in  the  place,  or  which  out  of  many  I 
should  choose. 

In  haste — as  you  see ;  in  sincerity — as  you  know. — 

Yours, 

Johannes  Brahms. 

41.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Arnoldstein]  August  15,  1878. 

My  dear  kind  Friend, — This  is  what  happened  about 
the  motets.  When  you  gave  us  your  gracious  permis- 
sion to  bring  the  dear  songs  here  with  us,  I  said,  half 
to  myself,  '  And  the  motet  ?'  As  you  made  no  reply,  I 
took  it  for  silent  consent,  and  slipped  it  in  with  the 
rest.  But  it  has  been  well  taken  care  of,  and  is  returned 
to  you  herewith  in  good  condition  after  beingthoroughly 
petted  by  us.  Don't,  don't  be  angry.  I  am  wholly  re- 
sponsible for  the  theft,  but  I  really  thought  you  winked 
at  it  consciously.  'Why,  why't  should  you  grudge 
me  this  incomparable  pleasure  ?  I  cannot  get  over  my 
delight  in  the  first  movement.  I  will  say  nothing  of  the 
first  paget  or  the  second  right  down  to  the  ^H^hy  7  but, 

*  She  had  sent  Brahms  one  of  her  husband's  motets  in  place  of 
his  own.  Four  of  Herzogenberg's  motets  were  pubHshed  by  Rieter- 
Biedermann  as  Op.  103. 

t  The  motet  opens  with  the  words  Warum  f  Warum  f 

X  p.  7  of  the  score,  bars  8  and  12. 


62  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

oh,  the  glorious  setting  of  the  words  'and  cometh  not'! 
The  syncopation  in  the  alto,  especially  the  suspended 
E,  is  too  adorable.  Then  the  crossing  of  the  soprano 
and  alto — but  I  will  spare  you  an  exclamation  mark 
after  every  single  bar. 

We  are  staying  with  the  innkeeper  Grum,  but  he 
has  only  one  other  room  beside  our  two.  However, 
there  are  not  many  visitors,  and  this  one  is  almost 
certain  to  be  empty.  There  is  another  inn— but  it 
would  be  best  to  send  us  a  line  before  you  come,  so 
that  Heinrich  can  arrange  something.  We  find  Arnold- 
stein  very  pleasant  and  'very  cheerfully  situate,'  as 
3^our  trashy  old  book  says.*  As  drawbacks  we  have 
so  far  only  discovered  swarms  of  flies  and  ducks, 
and  a  detachment  of  cavalry  stationed  here,  which 
seems  out  of  place  in  so  peaceful  a  landscape.  The 
advantages  are  many :  luxuriant  vegetation,  extra- 
ordinarily fine  beeches,  sweeping  firs,  air  clearer  than 
at  Velden,  and  the  fascinating  Gailtal  hills  in  the 
distance,  with  Dobratsch  sharply  outlined  in  the  fore- 
ground. It  is  a  very  good  place  to  vegetate  in.  But 
there  is  no  fish,  alas  for  you !  Delight  the  hearts  of 
your  faithful  Herzogenbergs  with  a  message  before 
long. 

42.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[PORTSCHACH,  September  7,  1878.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  expect  to  arrive  at  Arnoldstein 
to-morrow,  Sunday,  at  1 1 . 2 1 .  If  my  note  arrives  before 
me,  and  should  you  be  inclined  for  an  expedition  to 
Tarvis,  Weissenfels,  or  anywhere,  be  at  the  station 
and  take  a  ticket   for   me  with  yours.     Otherwise  I 

*  Valvasor,  Chronicle  of  Carinthia. 


VISIT  TO  ARNOLDSTEIN  6z 

shall  stay  at  Arnoldstein,  for  you  cannot  have  left  for 

good  yet. — Yours, 

J.Br. 

(This  is  for  H.  and  El.  of  course.) 


43.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Arnoldstein,  September  12,  1878. 

My  dear,  good  Friend,— In  case  you  have  not  had 
a  letter,  I  write  to  say  that  I  have  just  heard  from 
Eugenie.*  Her  mother  is  not  at  Kiel,  of  which  there 
seems  to  be  no  further  question,  but  at  Rudesheim  for 
a  few  days,  hoping  to  cure  her  arm  t  in  the  more  bracing 
air  there.  She  goes  to  Frankfurt  at  the  end  of  the 
week,  where  Marie,t  meanwhile,  has  been  moving  in. 
Felix's§  condition  seems  to  be  very  critical.  One  lung 
is  past  saving,  Eugenie  says,  while  there  is  'just  a 
possibility  '  of  curing  the  other.  They  propose  now 
to  take  him  to  the  Home  at  Falkenstein  close  to  Frank- 
furt. Eugenie  is  to  go  over  with  him  the  end  of  this 
week  to  inspect  the  place,  and  will  leave  him  there  if 
he  takes  to  it. 

I  must  thank  you  again  for  your  very  kind  visit  to 
us.  You  know  we  can't  be  wildly  demonstrative,  but 
it  is  to  be  hoped  you  can  see  without  that  how  happy 

*  Eugenie  Schumann,  fourth  and  youngest  daughter  of  Robert 
and  Clara  Schumann. 

t  Frau  Schumann  suffered  from  nervous  rheumatic  pains  in  her 
arm  for  several  years,  and  was  sometimes  prevented  from  playing. 
Dr.  Esmarch,  of  Kiel,  treated  her  for  this. 

%  The  eldest  daughter. 

§  The  youngest  and  most  promising  son,  born  when  Schumann 
was  in  the  asylum  at  Endcnich,  He  provided  the  words  for  Brahms's 
songs.  Op.  63,  Nos.  5  and  6,  and  Op.  26,  No.  5.  He  died  of  con- 
sumption in  1879. 


64  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

it  makes  us  to  have  you.  Walking  out  with  you,  Herr 
Doctor,  is  not  only  an  honour  and  a  pleasure,  but 
a  heartfelt  delight  for  us.  Since  your  train  steamed 
away,  we  have  gone  back  to  our  quiet  life.  Hilde- 
brand*  has  not  put  in  an  appearance  yet,  so  our  one 
distraction  in  the  midst  of  our  communion  with  nature 
and  our  work  in  this  shabby  little  room  is  the  very 
precious  memory  of  the  days  you  spent  with  us.  You 
were  so  very  good  to  my  Heinz.  He  is  sitting  bent 
over  his  quartet  paper  now,  and  thinking,  as  he  makes 
tails  to  his  notes  for  the  new  theme  and  variations,  that 
a  word  from  John  the  Baptist's  lips  is  worth  more  than 
a  hundred  essays  on  'Style  in  Composition,'!  even 
were  they  written  by  the  Almighty  himself! 

I  am  suffering  from  an  intermittent  fever  in  three 
minor  keys — B,  Fjf  and  At — a  fever  for  which  my  old 
cookery-book  has  no  remedy. 

Oh  yes,  there  are  all  sorts  of  ghosts  haunting  our 
rooms,  and  we  are  superstitiously  concerned  not  to 
scare  them  away.  .  .  .  But  good-bye  for  to-day.  Send 
us  your  address  to  Hosterwitz,  near  Dresden,  or  to 
Leipzig,  will  you  ?  And  keep  a  corner  in  your  affec- 
tions for  us.  It  makes  us  happier  than  almost  anything 
to  think  you  do. — Always  your  sincerely, 

Elisabet  H. 

*  Adolf  Hildebrand  (b.  1847),  the  isculptor,  who  executed  the 
Brahms  monument  at  Meiningen,  the  relief  figures  on  the  tombs  of 
the  two  Herzogenbergs,  and  the  bust  photographed  in  this  book. 

t  Richard  Pohl  (1826- 1896),  the  voluble  Wagner  apostle,  was 
bringing  out  a  series,  ^Esthetic  Letters  to  a  Young  Musician^  in  the 
Musikalisches  Wochenblatt,  with  the  title  In  which  Style  ought  we  to 
Compose  f 

%  The  keys  of  three  pianoforte  pieces,  published  in  1879  as 
Op.  76  (Nos.  I  and  2  of  book  i.,  and  No.  7  of  book  ii.),  which  Brahms 
had  played  to  them  when  at  Arnoldstein. 


AT  PORTSCHACH  65 

44.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[PoRTSCHACH,  September  14,  1878.] 
Frau  Puck, 

Tradesman's  wife, 

Klagenfurt 

Biirggasse 
(at  Empergers,  the  Baker's.) 

This  is  the  address  as  I  have  it  from  our  postmistress.* 
Kindest  regards,  also  thanks  for  your  letter  and  for  my 
pleasant  visit  (I  am  thanking  the  young  lady  in  the 
same  breath). 

'  Miss  Post-Office '  has  just  volunteered,  to  my 
horror,  that  the  tea  is  not  considered  good  now. 
Well,  you  can  but  try  Frau  Puck,  and  don't  blame 
me  if  it's  bad.  ^  T   Br 

45.  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  October  4,  1878. 

Dearest  Friend, — How  easy  it  would  be  for  me 
to  appropriate  your  motett  now,  for  the  only  proof 
of  your  authorship  is  the  royal  leonine  touch.  And 
where  is  the  court  of  arbitration  that  could  settle  the 
matter  ?  Being  an  honest  fellow,  however,  I  propose 
that  you  should  often  give  me  your  things  to  copy  out. 
You  could  then  feel  secure,  and  sleep  in  peace  without 
rummaging  among  your  piles  of  manuscript  paper. 

We  are  all  on  heaps  here,  and  smothered  in  dust. 
I  am  porter  while  my  wife  cooks.  But  we  begin  to 
see  daylight,  and  shall  soon  settle  down  to  our  com- 
fortable old  routine. 

*  Frau  Werzer,  manageress  of  the  hotel  and  post-office  at  Port- 
schach,  with  whom  Brahms  was  on  excellent  terms.  '  Miss  Post- 
Office  '  was  the  name  he  gave  her  daughter. 

t  See  Letters  39-41. 

5 


e6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

While  you  were  at  Leipzig*  we  spent  one  day  in 
Vienna,  and  now  it  is  just  the  other  way  round.  It  is 
almost  like  the  fairy-tale  in  which  everyone  wants  to 
change  places.  But  the  memory  of  our  meeting  in 
Carinthia  and  the  prospect  of  seeing  you  in  January 
and  hearing  your  violinf  keeps  us  up.  A  man  here, 
who  is  too  clever  by  half,  told  me  you  had  written  a 
third  symphony  ;  it  was  in  G  minor.  Did  you  know  ? 
Kindest  regards  from  us  both. — Yours  most  sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 

{P.S.  from  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg.) 

Guess  who  has  perpetrated  a  symphony  ?  You 
can't? — Richard  Wagner! J  So  we  shall  have  it  at 
last,  the  long-looked-for  model  which  is  to  '  deliver '  us 
from  the  repetition  of  the  first  part,  and  unfold  to  us 
in  a  series  of  arabesques  the  mystic  form  without 
form.  We  are  looking  forward  to  the  unholy  din  and 
the  chatter  of  the  so-called  critics,  although  it  is  rather 
a  case  for  tears.  All  the  philistines  are  wild  with 
delight  over  Siegfried  and  Goiter ddmmervmg,  and  of  all 
the  attractions  the  Fair  offers  this  is  the  most  popular. 
They  hardly  know  whether  to  admire  Wilt§  or  Fafner 
more. 

We  found  much  to  depress  us  on  our  return.     Poor 

♦  Brahms  had  been  invited  to  the  Hamburg  Musical  Festival 
(September  25-28),  on  the  occasion  of  the  Golden  Jubilee  of  the 
Philharmonic  Society.  He  conducted  his  second  symphony  on  the 
third  evening,  and  called  at  Leipzig  on  his  way  back. 

+  The  Violin  concerto,  Op.  77,  and  the  VioHn  sonata,  Op.  78,  were 
commenced  in  the  summer  of  1878,  and  finished  late  in  the  autumn. 

%  A  symphony  composed  in  1832,  and  performed  in  the  following 
year  at  Prague  and  Leipzig,  which  was  revived  in  1878  for  a  short  time. 

§  Marie  Wilt  (1833-1891),  prima  donna  at  the  Court  Theatre, 
Vienna,  who   ook  the  part  of  Briinnhilde  at  Leipzig. 


FRAU  SCHUMANN'S  JUBILEE  67 

Engelmann  is  seriously  ill,  and  his  illness  has  a  ghastly 
name.  But  he  seems  to  be  improving,  and  his  wife  is  in 
better  spirits.  The  dear  old  man  lies  on  the  sofa,  with- 
out a  suspicion  of  the  real  nature  of  his  illness,  fretting 
over  his  helplessness  and  finding  his  chief  amusement 
in  a  charming  little  Venus  and  Cupid  which  he  has 
had  painted. 

Our  little  English  friend*  is  staying  with  little  Emma 
at  Utrecht,  where  she  is  blissfully  happy  and  can  hear 
the  Horn  trio  and  the  C  minor  quartet  ;t  but  we  shall 
be  able  to  deliver  your  messages  to  Limburgert  very 
soon.  When,  oh  when,  are  you  coming  to  Humboldt- 
strasse  ?  We  want  you  badly.  We  often  feel  our- 
selves such  fish  out  of  water  among  the   philistines 

here. — Kindest  regards  from 

The  Wife. 

46.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  October  18,  1878. 

My  dear  Friend, — Are  you  really  conducting  at 
Breslau  on  the  24th  ?  I  can  hardly  believe  the  report, 
and  am  convinced  you  will  turn  up  here  next  Thursday 
through  some  trap -door  or  other.  Your  presence 
would  be  chief  of  all  the  pleasures  that  have  been 
devised  for  Frau  Schumann§  and  you  surely  would 

*  Miss  Ethel  Smyth.  t  Brahms,  Op.  40  and  Op.  60. 

J  Director  of  the  Gewandhaus  committee. 

§  The  jubilee  to  celebrate  the  fiftieth  anniversary  of  Frau  Schu- 
mann's first  public  appearance  (at  a  concert  given  in  the  Gewandhaus 
by  Caroline  Verlthaler,  a  pianist  from  Graz)  on  October  20,  1878.  A 
concert  in  her  honour  had  been  arranged  at  the  Gewandhaus  on  the 
14th,  consisting  of  Schumann's  works,  at  which  a  golden  laurel-wreath 
was  to  be  presented  to  her.  Brahms  was  not  able  to  be  present,  as 
he  was  conducting  at  Breslau  on  the  22nd  (his  second  symphony), 
and  playing  in  his  A  major  quartet  on  the  24th. 

5—2 


68 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


not  hurt  the   dear  woman   by  staying   away  on  this 

occasion.     Please  send  me  a  line,  so  that  we  can  enjoy 

the  prospect  of  seeing  you,  and  get  the  coffee  roasted. 

Unfortunately,  we  cannot  put  you  up  this  time ;  that 

pleasure  is  reserved  for  January.     One  of  my  spare 

rooms  has  measles,  and  is  at  present  peeling,  while 

Filu*  is  in  posession  of  the  other. — Yours  in  haste,  but 

very  sincerely, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


47.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig]  November  17,  1878. 


2=1^1^: 


:^ 


■^ 


fei^ 


m 


Ach! 


-K> 


^ 


V.--^      A 


ha    -    ben     Sie          Er  -  bar    -    men 
•  ft 


M 


w 


?^^^{g 


■>«-■ 


5511:35: 


fc; 


/—- ■; 


i^-i 


:fsq 


ein 


mal        doch 


mit 


mir      Ar     -     men 


m. 


v^^. 


und 


schik    -    ken     Sie 


mir      end     -     lich 


m: 


stringenao 


#5 


*  Marie  Fillunger. 


CAPRICCIOS  AND  INTERMEZZI 


69 


+     + 

smarsando 


smarsanao      1^ v         1 


.J^e^J. 


•7^=S«v 


+ 

die    ,     .       er    -    sehn     -    ten      In 


ter  -  mez     -     zi  !* 


e> 


EEE 


rail. 


^_.. 


=#=tr 


-=1-T 


:^ 


E.  H. 

48.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

Vienna,  November^  1878. 

This  is  all  I  can  send  for  the  moment.  The  Romanze 
you  sing  so  charmingly!  is  not  there,  I  am  sorry  to  say, 
for  my  copyist  has  no  time.  So  if  you  wish  to  keep 
either  of  these,  you  will  have  to  bespeak  a  pen  in 
Leipzig  and  send  me  back  my  copy  in  due  course 

What  a  pity  I  have  no  long  letter  to  answer !  I 
should  so  enjoy  it. — Yours  most  sincerely, 

J.  Brahms. 

49.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  December  13,  1878. 
My  dear  Friend, — I  wonder  if  you  set  me  down  as 
the  wretch  I  am  conscious  of  being  for  keeping  the 

*  *  Oh,  have  pity  on  my  misery,  and  send  the  longed-for  Intermezzi!' 
Brahms  had  played  some  of  his  new  Capriccios  and  Intermezzi 
(Op.  76)  to  the  Herzogenbergs  on  his  visit  to  Arnoldstein  in  September, 
and  the  above  is  a  reminiscence  of  the  Intermezzo  in  A  minor,  second 
part.  It  may  be  taken  as  a  proof  of  Frau  von  Hcrzogenberg's 
remarkably  quick  ear  and  retentive  memory. 

t  Refers  to  the  song  in  the  previous  letter.  Brahms  sent  this 
particular  piece  later,  with  the  inscription  Romanze  fiir  1  zaric 
Fraucnsiimmen  unci  2  zarten  Fraucnzimmcrn  gewidmct. 


70  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

longed-for  pianoforte  pieces  without  a  word  of  thanks. 
I  assure  you,  I  am  as  ashamed  as  any  poodle,  and  as 
terrified  as  —  what  shall  I  say?  —  lest  you  should 
refrain  from  sending  me  another  line  to  the  end  of 
your  days.  Of  course  I  could  reel  out  yards  of  excuses 
to  justify  myself,  but  I  prefer  not,  for  there  could  be 
no  adequate  excuse  for  such  neglect.  You  see,  I  am 
at  least  conscious  of  my  guilt,  and  I  implore  your 
forgiveness,  indulgence,  pardon,  and  all  the  rest. 

And,  do  you  know,  the  dear  pieces  are  still  with  the 
copyist — our  Leipzig  copyists  are  such  slowcoaches — 
but  I  will  really  send  them  off  to-morrow.  The  one 
in  B  minor, "^  which  I  kept  back  because  it  gave  me 
such  untold  pleasure  to  practise  it,  is  now  being 
copied  out  for  me  by  our  little  English  friend.f  Please 
note,  however,  that  I  have  only  one  very  nice  little 
English  girl. 

And  now,  do  tell  me,  is  the  violin  concerto  really 
not  finished  ?  We  heard  a  wail  to  that  effect  from 
Utrecht,  but  refuse  to  believe  it.  It  looks  so  unlike 
you  to  promise  more  than  you  can  carry  out ;  and  you 
did  promise  us  the  concerto  at  Arnoldstein — dear  old 
sleepy  Arnoldstein,  where  we  had  so  much  time  for 
counterpoint !  Here  I  am  cook  and  charwoman  by 
turns,  have  a  terrific  weight  of  housekeeping  on  my 
shoulders,  and  only  sit  down  to  the  piano  in  an  occa- 
sional breathing-space.  For  many  reasons  do  I  look 
forward  to  January,  therefore ;  I  shall  have  a  person 
who  can  cook,  and  hope  to  become  a  normal  being 
again  myself  You  will  come  in  any  case,  concerto  or 
no  concerto  ?  But  I  must  stop.  She  gives  me  no 
peace,  the  B  minor  copyist.  If  you  want  to  see  some- 
thing beautiful,  look  at  the  last  eight  bars.  We  play 
*  Capriccio,  Op.  76,  No.  2.  f  Miss  Ethel  Smyth. 


CAPRICCIOS  AND  INTERMEZZI  71 

them  over  and  over,  and  can  never  have  enough  of 
them. 

I  am  going  to  play  them  to  the  Utrecht  Engelmanns 
shortly.     What  a  triumph  to  forestall  Emma  for  once ! 

My  favourite,  now  and  for  ever,  is  the  F  sharp 
minor.*  I  flatter  myself  that  I  really  appreciate  it, 
and  should  play  it  exquisitely  if  I  were  any  sort  of 
a  pianist. 

But  good-bye.  I  know  I  shall  not  get  the  Rornanze 
now,  for  my  sins,  any  more  than  the  C  sharp  minor.t 

Heinrich  sends  messages  (he  is  working  very  hard), 

and  Ethel  Smyth  too.    She  does  the  prettiest  gavottes 

and   sarabandes.     Write  and   tell   us  when   you   are 

coming,   so   that   we   can  look  forward  to   it. — Your 

devoted 

Herzogenberge. 

50.  Brahms  to  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  December  15,  1878.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  really  only  wanted  to  know 
whether  you  had  received  the  music,  as  it  would  have 
been  awkward  if  you  had  not.  You  will  certainly  have 
forgotten  to  pepper  the  pate  de  foie  gras  over  your 
many  excuses.  If  Utrecht  Engelmann  is  over,  how 
would  it  be  to  offer  him  the  B  minor  for  his  Emma  ? 
You  either  can't  or  won't  believe  that  I  am  too  modest 
to  ingratiate  myself  by  these  delicate  attentions. 

But  I  have  a  particular  request,  and  should  be  glad 
to  hear,  by  post-card,  whether  you  will  undertake  to 
fulfil  it  in  its  entirety.  Every  day  I  try  to  get  a  letter 
written  to  Consul  Limburger,  but  I  should  prefer  it 
so  much  if  you  or  Herzogenherg  would  go  and  see 

*  Op.  76,  No.  I,  t  Op.  'jG,  No.  5. 


72  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

him,  and  make  him  understand  that  I  would  rather  not 
come  at  New  Year.  Joachim  is  coming  here,  and  I 
should  have  a  chance  of  trying  the  concerto  through 
with  him,  and  deciding  for  or  against  a  public  per- 
formance. If  we  do  that,  and  are  fairly  satisfied  with 
it,  you  can  still  hear  it  afterwards.  The  Consul  also 
invited  me  to  conduct  the  C  minor,*  etc.,  and  I  am  not 
inclined  to  do  that  either.  What  is  your  conductor 
there  for,  after  all !  There  is  some  sense  in  conducting 
one's  own  works  before  they  are  printed,  but  only 
then. 

Joachim  is  very  busy,  and  we,  like  you,  suffer  from 
overworked  copyists.  He  will  get  his  part,  properly 
written  out,  to-morrow  for  the  first  time,  but  he  has 
a  big  concert  on  hand  for  the  29th,  and  so  on.  Tell 
the  Consul  all  this,  and  pile  it  on.  In  any  case,  it  is  my 
earnest  request  that  you  will  see  Limburger  without 
delay,  so  that  I  can  feel  as  if  I  had,  in  a  way,  given  him 
his  answer  at  last. 

***** 

You  might,  after  all,  take  a  sheet  of  paper  instead  of 
a  post-card,  and  tell  me  whether  the  University  vaca- 
tions have  begun  in  Holland,  or  whether  there  is 
anything  worse  at  the  back  of  Utrecht  Engelmann's 
visit  to  you. 

Grieg t  was  in  Leipzig,  too.  How  did  he  get  on? 
I  read  a  bad  account  of  him  in  Rieter's  paperj  just 
now — which  looks  hopeful ! 

*  The  first  symphony,  which  was  to  be  performed  again  at  the 
Gewandhaus  on  New  Year's  Day. 

•j-  Edvard  Grieg  (1843-1907),  Norwegian  composer. 

X  The  Allgemeine  Musikalischc  Zeitung,  published  by  the  firm 
Ricter-icdermann,  was  founded  in  1866,  and  withdrawn  in  1882  ; 
edited  from  1869  onwards  by  Friedrich  Chrysander. 


CAPRICCIOS  AND  INTERMEZZI  73 

But  I  am  letting  my  pen  run  away  with  me  to-day. 
Many  apologies ;  it  is  too  late  to  alter  anything  now. — 
Yours  in  haste  and  sincerely,  j    gj^ 

51.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  December  15,  1878  * 

Dear  Friend, — Most  regretfully  do  I  return  your 
beautiful  music.  If  you  will  signify  my  restoration 
to  favour  by  sending  me  the  C  sharp  minor  and  the 
Romanze  after  all,  I  shall  be  your  devoted  slave,  and  I 
promise  to  return  them  within  twenty-four  hours.  .  .  . 

I  have  just  had  bad  news  from  the  Engelmanns. 
They  were  quite  cheerful  a  few  days  ago ;  the  Pro- 
fessor thought  it  quite  possible  his  father  might  recover 
for  a  time.  But  there  has  been  a  sudden  change  for 
the  worse,  and  he  seemed  to  fear  yesterday  that  the 
poor  old  man  might  not  last  the  night.  The  women- 
folk know  nothing  of  this,  and  the  invalid  is  still  buoyed 
up  by  various  consoling  delusions.  I  am  just  going 
there,  and  will  let  you  know  of  any  change. 

Good-bye,  and  keep  us  in  your  thoughts.  I  suppose 
my  letter  and  photograph,  sent  shortly  after  our  return, 
never  reached  you,  as  you  reproach  me  (who  am  a 
confirmed  babbler)  for  not  writing.  Thank  you  again 
for  the  piano  pieces,  which  are  my  greatest  joy. 
Remember  us  to  the  Fabers,  who  have  not  forgotten 
us,  i  nope.  Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

Your  photographs  went  like  anything  at  the  bazaar 
for  a  pound  apiece.  The  girl  who  sold  them  asked 
quite  innocently  whether  the  inscription  were  not  a 
piece  of  satire  ! — In  haste,  Yhe  Same 

*  The  note-paper  bears  the  motto  :  *  Postponed  is  not  abandoned.' 


74  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

52.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December  21,  1878.] 

You  really  take  everything  far  too  seriously.  If 
Herzogenberg  has  not  committed  himself  irrevocably 
with  the  Consul,  I  may  say  that  Joachim  is  quite  keen 
on  playing  the  concerto,  so  it  may  come  off  after  all. 
I  am  against  having  the  symphony*  on  the  same 
evening,  because  the  orchestra  will  be  tired  as  it  is, 
and  I  don't  know  how  difficult  the  concertof  will  prove. 
I  expect  to  be  in  Berlin  by  the  28th  to  rehearse  it  on 
the  piano  with  Joachim — though  I  can  stay  here  if  you 
don't  approve !  The  concerto  is  in  D  major,  which 
should  be  taken  into  consideration  in  arranging  the 
programme.  Indeed  I  received  your  photograph,  un- 
grateful wretch  that  I  am  ! 

J.Br. 

*  Cf.  Letter  50,  note. 

f  The  concerto  for  violin,  for  which  Joachim  had  provided  finger- 
ing and  bowing  marks.  Brahms  had  written  in  the  autumn  saying 
that  liis  first  impulse  had  been  to  '  offer  his  fingers '  for  Joachim's 
concert  in  Vienna,  and  keep  back  the  violin  concerto ;  but  his  dis- 
inclination for  concert-playing  was  too  deep-rooted,  and  he  had 
grown  used  to  playing  with  himself  as  sole  audience.  Yet  he  hated 
to  think  of  Joachim's  playing  in  Austria,  while  he  '  stood  there  doing 
nothing,'  and  the  only  alternative  was  to  conduct  the  Violin  concerto. 
Would  it  be  true  hospitality  to  send  him  the  score  with  a  proper 
copy  of  the  solo  part  ?  The  middle  movements  had  been  discarded 
('they  were  the  best,  of  course'),  but  he  was  putting  in  a  'feeble 
adagio.'  *  We  might  as  well  give  them  the  pleasure  at  Leipzig,'  he 
adds ;  '  we  could  hold  a  consultation  here  at  the  piano.'  The  result 
of  the  consultation  was  exceedingly  favourable,  and  the  new  work 
was  able  to  be  included  in  the  concert  programme  for  New  Year's 
Day  at  Leipzig.  Brahms  went  to  Berlin  on  December  18,  and  from 
there  to  Leipzig  with  Joachim. 


THE  VIOLIN  CONCERTO  75 

53.  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  December  23,  1878. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  was  just  about  to  sit 
down  and  write  you  the  result  of  my  talk  with 
Limburger,  when  to  our  surprise  and  delight  your 
post-card  arrived.  I  wrote  off  to  Limburger  without  a 
moment's  delay,  but  have  had  no  reply  up  to  now.  He 
was  going  to  meet  the  committee  to  decide  upon  the 
programme  the  following  afternoon.  Fortunately,  he 
had  telegraphed  to  Joachim  earlier,  and  secured  him 
for  the  first  of  January,  so  we  have  come  out  of  this 
exciting  time  fairly  well  on  the  whole. 

I  almost  think  you  have  put  off  the  journey  to  Berlin 
too  late.  The  rehearsals,  the  final  rehearsal  at  least, 
will  in  consequence  fall  immediately  before  the  concert. 
Would  it  not  be  better  to  go  straight  there  imme- 
diately after  Christmas,  say  on  the  27th,  and  to  come 
on  here  for  the  first  rehearsal  ?  I  will  inquire  and  let 
you  know  the  exact  day  for  which  it  is  fixed.  You 
will  only  want  five  first  violin  parts,  five  second,  three 
violas  and  eight  basses  (or,  if  these  are  copied 
separately,  five  'celli  and  three  double-basses).  Let 
me  at  this  point  formally  invite  your  trunk  to  stay  with 
us,  for  you  will  probably  like  to  be  in  its  immediate 
neighbourhood — possibly  in  our  spare  room. 

I  am  not  going  to  bother  about  the  keys;  the  concerto 

may  be  in  G  sharp  minor,  for  all  I  know !     But  you 

will    surely  write   to   Limburger  yourself?     I   didn't 

exactly  promise  that  you  would,  but  I  let  it  be  taken  for 

granted. — With  kindest  regards  from  us  both,  yours 

sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 


76  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

[Postscript  by  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg.) 

December  22. 

Poor  old  Herr  Engelmann  died  this  morning  at  three 
o'clock  very  peacefully.     It  was  like  falling  asleep. 

And  he  was  just  one  of  those  who  cling  to  life  ! 

I  am  going  there  this  afternoon,  and  am  dreading 
seeing  those  poor  women  in  their  trouble.  What 
a  blessing  Utrecht  Engelmann  is  there ! — Kindest 
regards,  dear  friend,  from  yours  sincerely, 

E.  Herzogenberg. 

54.  Brahms  to  Heinrich  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Berlin,  December  29,  1878.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  expect  to  send  off  my  trunk  to- 
morrow, Monday,  at  two  o'clock.  Arrival  in  Leipzig 
timed  approximately  for  5.30,  5.15,  5. 7 J,  or  5.20.  I  shall 
also  see  that  it  is  sent  to  the  right  street,  so  mind  you 
are  near  at  hand  ! — Kindest  regards,  y    gj^ 

55.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  January,  1879.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  don't  know  what  sort  of 
an  opinion  you  have  of  my  tidiness,  but  don't  form  one 
on  the  strength  of  the  question  which  I  have  to  ask. 

Did  your  brother  ever  entrust  the  manuscript  of 
Chopin's  mazurka.  Op.  41,  No.  2,  in  E  minor,  to  me  ?* 
A  pile  of  the  various  editions  and  manuscripts  of  this 
mazurka   has   been   accumulating  here  for  ages,  and 

*  The  manuscript  was  the  property  of  Messrs.  H  artel  {cf.  Letter  16). 


THE  VIOLIN  CONCERTO  77 

yesterday  I  really  tackled  it  seriously.  There  is  the 
printer's  copy  of  Op.  41  from  Hartel,  but  besides  that 
the  original  manuscript  of  No.  2.  I  am  not  inclined  to 
think  it  belongs  to  Hartel,  for  I  have  a  habit  of  marking 
such  things,  usually  with  a  faint  pencil-mark.  In  the 
bound  volume  of  mazurkas,  for  instance,  there  is  your 
brother's  name.  ...  I  might  multiply  excuses  and 
pleas  for  justification,  but  why  trouble  about  a  little 
untidiness  when  I  know  to  my  sorrow  how  severely 
you  judge  me  on  other  scores  ? 

My  concert  tour  was  a  real  down-hill  affair  after 
Leipzig;*  no  more  pleasure  in  it.  Perhaps  that  is  a 
slight  exaggeration,  though,  for  friends  and  hospitality 
are  not  everything  on  a  concert  tour.  In  some  trifling 
ways  it  was  even  more  successful ;  the  audiences  were 
kinder  and  more  alive.  Joachim  played  my  piece  more 
beautifully  with  every  rehearsal,  too,  and  the  cadenza 
went  so  magnificently  at  our  concert  here  that  the 
people  clapped  right  on  into  my  coda.  But  what  is 
all  that  compared  to  the  privilege  of  going  home  to 
Humboldtstrasse  and  being  pulled  to  pieces  by  three 
womenkind — since  you  object  to  the  word  *  females '? 

I  wish  you   would   not   go   to   Norway.     Come   to 

Carinthia  instead,  or  go  to  Baden,  where  I  could  meet 

you.     We    might    profit    mutually    by    each    other's 

company — it  need  not  be  all  on  my  side ! — In  haste, 

but  with  kindest  remembrances  to  the  whole  party, 

yours  very  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

*  Joachim  played  the  Violin  concerto  on  January  14  in  Vienna. 
He  then  went  to  England  without  Brahms,  and  played  it  twice  by 
request  at  the  Crystal  Palace.  Meeting  Brahms  again,  they  played 
it  together  at  Bremen,  Hamburg,  and  Berlin. 


78  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

56.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  April  13,  1879. 

My  dear  Friend, — My  conscience  reproaches  me 
vaguely  with  treating  you  badly,  and,  indeed,  my 
post-card*  was  but  a  shabby  return  for  your  somewhat 
enigmatical  letter.  I  might  fill  four  pages  with  excellent 
excuses,  but  am  restrained  by  my  consideration  for 
you,  so  don't  be  too  hard  on  me. 

The  Volklandsf  spread  a  rumour  that  you  might  be 
persuaded  to  call  at  Leipzig  on  your  way  back,  and 
this  note  is  an  attempt  at  the  said  persuasion.  People 
who  know  geography  insist  that  it  is  the  natural  route 
to  Vienna.  I  who  know  no  geography  can  only  say 
how  delighted  we  should  be  to  see  you  again.  It  seems 
to  me,  too,  that  we  have  some  right  to  expect  you,  after 
your  cavalier  treatment  of  us  in  January.  So  please 
be  nice,  and  do  your  utmost  to  arrange  a  peep  at 
us.  .  .  . 

I  wonder  if  we  shall  meet  in  Carinthia  ?  We  are 
going  to  Austria,  after  all,  and  not  to  Norway,  but  shall 
hardly  get  away  before  the  middle  of  August,  when 
we  may  go  to  the  Carinthian  Alps,  in  the  shadow  of 
which  I  suppose  you  intend  to  stay. 

My  husband  would  write  and  add  his  petitions  to 
mine  if  he  had  not  just  hurt  his  right  hand.  As  it  is,  he 
can  only  send  greetings,  and  say  that  he  endorses  every- 
thing I  have  written.  Auf  Wiedersehen  in  Humboldt- 
strasse  then,  in  my  blue  room  ? — Yours  very  sincerely, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

*  The  post-card  is  missing.  f  C/.  Letter  i,  note. 


SUMMER  PLANS  79 

57.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Berlin,  April  15,  1879.] 

My   dear   Friend, — The   news   contained    in  your 

letter  enables  me  to  pass  through  Leipzig  with  the 

greatest  placidity.     It   is   excellent   hearing  that  you 

have  given  up  the  North  Cape,  and  are  going  to  Vienna 

and  Graz.     I  shall  see  you   much   more   comfortably 

there  than  now  in  Leipzig,  when  I  am  anxious  to  get 

home      But  I  shall  come  to  Graz  and  over  hill  and 

dale  in  Carinthia,  wherever  you  like. — In  haste,  yours 

sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

58.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  Afril  21,  1879. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Forgive  me  for  bothering 
you,  but  could  you  send  back  the  green  volume  of 
Chopin,  which  you  routed  out  the  other  day,  to  my 
brother  in  Dresden,  Kaiserstrasse  5  ?  I  wish  I  could 
spare  you  the  trouble,  by  offering  to  burgle  your  house 
when  we  pass  through  Vienna,  and  pack  it  up  myself, 
but  my  brother  is  keen  on  having  his  green  book  at 
this  moment. 

We  can  understand  your  passing  through  Leipzig  in 
that  mean  way,  but  it  was  a  great  disappointment. 
We  had  foolishly  counted  on  your  coming. 

The  prospect  of  meeting  you  in  the  mountains  is 
consoling,  however.  I  have  more  faith  in  Carinthia,  as 
you  are  sure  to  have  left  Vienna,  when  we  pass  through 
at  the  end  of  May,  and  what  should  take  you  to  Graz  ? 
I  should   have   nothing  of  you  there  either,  though 


8o  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  Thieriots*  would — and  I  ought  not  to  grudge  it 
them. 

I  am  enjoying  the  piano  piecesf  all  the  more  since  I 
made  the  blissful  discovery  that  the  C  sharp  minor  and 
the  C  major  are  not  so  difficult  as  they  look. 

Best  love  from  Heinz,  who  is  beside  himself  with 
joy  at  the  thought  of  Carinthia  and  you.  I  hardly  see 
him  all  day,  he  is  so  frightfully  taken  up  with  some 
short  sacred  part-songs,t  which  will  certainly  be 
inflicted  on  you  this  summer.  He  has  also  written  a 
second  string  trio,§  which  sounds  extremely  well,  and, 
what  is  so  very  desirable,  reads  well. 

We  were  invited  to  the  Kirchners  the  other  day, 
and  I  was  sorry  for  the  rest  of  the  party.  He  and  I 
played  duets  for  over  an  hour  and  a  half!  It  was  all 
Kirchner,  of  course,  and  really  duets,  especially  when 
played  at  sight,  are  only  entertaining  to  those  directly 
concerned.  Dear  old  Kirchner !  He  is  a  wee  bit 
offended  every  time,  because  I  am  always  provided 
with  something  new.  '  I  don't  know  why  we  play  the 
things  at  all,'  he  says  in  an  injured  tone  ;  *  you  take 
no  interest  in  them.'  Yet  he  is  always  so  ready  to  sit 
down  at  the  piano,  poor  lonely  fellow!  The  duets 
really  interest  me,  too,  while  I  am  actually  playing 
with  him.  There  are  many  delightful  touches,  and 
all  his  work  bears  the  real  musicianly  stamp  ;  but  as 
to  sitting  down  to  master  these  miniatures,  so  senti- 
mental for  the  most  part,  playing  them  over  and  over 

*  Ferdinand  Thieriot  (b.  1838),  composer,  and  at  that  time  '  artistic 
director'  of  the  Steiermark  Musikvercin  at  Graz.  He  was  a  country- 
man of  Brahms's,  and,  like  him,  a  pupil  of  Eduard  Marxsen. 

t  Op.  76  had  now  been  published  by  Simrock. 

X  Twelve  German  sacred  folk-songs  for  mixed  chorus,  Op.  18. 

§  Second  Trio  in  F  for  Violin,  Viola,  and  Violoncello,  Op.  27. 


VIENNA  CONSERVATORIUM  8i 

to  oneself  and  bringing  out  the  middle  voices  on  the 
keyboard  with  one's  thumbs — who  would  do  it  ? 

Kirchner  has  been  giving  an  organ  recital  here  in 
the  Paulinerkirche — by  announcement,  not  by  invita- 
tion, for  the  first  time — with  an  eye,  we  think,  to  the 
approaching  vacancy  at  the  Thomaskirche.     It  was  a 
pitiful  performance :  not  one  item  of  real  organ  music, 
but  just  odd  scraps,  mostly  from  Schumann's  Pedal- 
piano  Studies  *  and  Paradise  and  the  Peri.    He  steered 
clear   of  pedal   passages,  but  would  hold  one   pedal 
note  for  a  quarter  of  an  hour  while  he  played  shimmer- 
ing modulations  on  the  *  echo '.     He  never  began  nor 
ended  anything  properly,  but  made  convenient  bridges 
between  one  fragment  and  the  next  by  hanging  on  to 
the  notes  in  a  disgraceful  way.     Really,  it  was  almost 
like  hearing  an  amateur  coquet  with  the  stops.     One 
or  two  Bach  themes  cropped  up,  only  to  raise  vain 
expectations,  for  they   lasted   about   three   bars,  and 
were  taken  from  the  Wohltemperiertes  Klavier]  at  that. 
We  were  much  disappointed,  for  we  had  thought  the 
organ  was  plane  sailing  for  him. 

But  I  have  something  on  my  mind.  What  is  the 
Vienna  Conservatorium  like  ?  Could  one  advise  a  young 
student,  who  is  taking  up  composition,  to  go  there  ?  .  .  . 

There  are  one  or  two  poor  fellows  here  who  would 
like  to  try  a  change,  and  have  asked  Heinrich's  advice. 
If  it  has  to  be  a  conservatorium,  which  should  you 
recommend  ?  Berlin,  Frankfurt,  or  Vienna  ?  Another 
thing  :  Is  Nottebohm  dear  for  private  lessons  ?  One 
of  these  young  men  would  prefer  that,  but  is  afraid  it 
may  be  beyond  his  means.  I  am  ashamed  to  importune 
you  in  this  way,  but  it  is  no  use  going  to  any  but  the 

*  Op.  56. 

t  That  is  to  say,  pianoforte,  not  organ,  fugues. — Tr. 

6 


82  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

best  for  advice.  .  .  .  Besides,  you  can  answei  all  these 
questions  on  one  page. 

You  are  now  released  with  kindest  regards,  a  jubilant 
Aiif  Wiedersehen,  and  the  assurance  of  my  boundless 
esteem. — Your  chatterbox, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


59.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  29,  1879.] 

My  dear  Friend, — Forgive  me  if  I  only  manage  to 
reply  to  your  questions.  I  dare  not  wait  until  the 
letter-writing  spirit  moves  me  to  answer  your  kind 
and  charming  letter  as  it  deserves.  Briefly  then : 
our  conservatorium  is  in  a  terrible  state  as  regards  the 
teaching  of  composition.  You  only  need  to  see  the 
teachers,  and  not — as  I  often  do — the  pupils  and  their 
work.* 

I  should  not  recommend  Frankfurt  either,  just  now ; 
Berlin  and  Munich,  possibly,  if  it  has  to  be  a  con- 
servatorium at  all — you  know  I  am  not  partial  to  them  ! 
Nottebohm  charges  three  gulden  a  lesson,  so  far  as 
I  know,  and  we  can  hardly  expect  consideration 
from  him,  as  that  would  imply  that  he  needed  it 
from  us ! 

*  Brahms  was  for  over  twenty  years  a  member  of  the  committee, 
formed  in  1863,  for  distributing  the  stipends  granted  by  the  Austrian 
Government  for  the  education  and  support  of  young  musical  talent. 
He  had  in  this  capacity  ample  opportunity  of  judging  the  masters 
and  students  of  the  Vienna  Conservatorium.  His  conscientiousness  is 
shown  in  the  opinions  expressed  in  his  marginal  notes,  some  of  which 
Hanslick  reproduced  in  the  'Neuc  Freie  Pressc  of  June  19,  1897.  In 
1884  he  complained :  '  It  is  really  disgraceful  and  inexcusable  year 
by  year  to  ruin  beyond  repair  the  little  talent  we  have.'  But  the 
circumstances  are  now  considerably  improved. 


THE  LEIPZIG  CANTORSHIP  83 

I  can  strongly  recommend  him  as  a  teacher.  I  send 
him  everyone  who  comes  my  way,  and  have  often 
had  reason  to  be  delighted  with  his  results. 

Be  sure  you  let  me  know  when  you  are  coming  to 
Vienna.  I  should  like  to  run  over  from  Portschach 
for  a  week,  and  would  fit  it  in  accordingly.  I  have 
engaged  my  seven  beds*  again,  and  might  have  been 
there  by  now,  but  for  the  Festival  weekt  and  the 
uncertain  weather. 

Don't  laugh  over  the  newspaper  descriptions  of 
the  Festival  procession.  It  was  beautiful  beyond 
expectation  and  beyond  description. 

Your  description  of  Kirchner  at  the  organ  is  delight- 
ful. He  produced  for  your  benefit  all  the  little  tricks 
which  used  to  entrance  the  good  Swiss  ladies  ten  or 
twenty  years  ago.|  But  the  Leipzig  churchwardens 
may  not  have  such  keen  —  and  pretty  —  ears  as 
yours ! 

Can  you,  between  ourselves,  tell  me  anything  par- 
ticular about  the  post  of  cantor^  at  St.  Thomas's  ?  I 
have  to  decide,  practically  without  knowing  anything 
about  it,  though  I  don't  think  it  matters  much. 

Excuse  this  hasty  scribble,  and  accept  kindest  remem- 
brances for  yourself,  Heinrich,  and  our  little  friend, || 

from  yours, 

Johannes  Brahms. 

*  Brahms  sometimes  took  a  whole  house  in  the  country  for  the 
sake  of  privacy,  although  he  only  used  two  rooms.  The  summer 
was  his  best  working  time. 

f  The  silver  wedding  of  the  Emperor  and  Empress. 

X  Refers  to  the  time  when  Kirchner  was  organist  at  Winterthur. 

§  Brahms  had  been  offered  the  post  of  cantor  at  St.  Thomas's, 
once  held  by  Bach. 

II  Miss  Ethel  Smyth. 


6—2 


84  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

60.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  May  6,  1879.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  am  touched  by  your  kindness  in 
replying  so  minutely  to  my  questions.  We  imagined 
the  state  of  things  to  be  such  as  you  describe,  and 
Heinrich  had  strongly  advised  the  young  man  not  to 
try  the  Vienna  Conservatorium.  We  have  considered 
the  ca/^^or  question  and  made  some  inquiries.  It  would 
be  tempting  indeed  to  paint  the  position  in  glowing 
colours  if  there  were  a  chance  of  getting  you  here ; 
but,  alas !  you  have  probably  given  up  the  idea  again. 

The  Thomaner  have  got  into  slack  ways  lately,  and 
do  everything  mechanically.  There  is  no  temptation 
to  go  and  hear  the  Saturday  motet*  nowadays.  But, 
of  course,  the  late  directorf  was  much  too  old  ;  anyone 
able  to  infuse  new  life  into  them  would  find  good 
healthy  material  enough,  and  be  able  to  do  great 
things.  There  is  every  possible  facility  offered  for 
securing  good  performances,  as,  for  instance,  carte 
blanche  in  the  way  of  orchestral  rehearsals,  of  which 
Richter  took  no  advantage.  Rontgen  trembles  even 
now  to  think  how  often  he  may  be  summoned,  once 
a  proper  cantor  comes  who  will  insist  on  his  privilege 
as  regards  the  town  orchestra.  But  we  can  only  think 
of  the  possibility  of  having  you  here  among  us  as  a 
beautiful  dream,  for  we  cannot  conceive  of  your  really 
accepting  the  post,  although  it  would  have  its  advan- 
tages.    But  what   would   become   of  your  delightful 

*  The  motet  sung  at  St.  Thomas's  by  the  famous  choir  every 
Saturday  is  an  old-estabUshed  and  very  popular  institution. — Tk. 

t  Ernst  Friedrich  Richter  (1808-1879),  a  distinguished  theorist, 
follower  of  Moritz  Hauptmann,  was  cantor  at  the  choir  school  from 
1868  until  his  death. 


THE  LEIPZIG  CANTORSHIP  85 

summer  holiday,  your  beloved  Portschach,  with  its  lake 
from  whose  waves  there  rise  D  major  symphonies  and 
violin  concertos,  beautiful  as  any  foam-born  goddess ! 
No,  we  cannot  imagine  you  here,  however  desirable  it 
may  be  for  us  and  for  Leipzig  to  have  you  descend 
on  us  like  a  whirlwind.  By  the  way,  it  was  common 
knowledge  that  the  cantorship  had  been  offered  you 
before  you  wrote  about  it.  To  think  of  having  you 
for  OUT  cantor  /  What  could  be  more  splendid?  .  .  . 
Good-bye  now,  and  forgive  this  hurried  scribble.  Many 
thanks  again  for  your  most  kind  letter.  Are  you  really 
going  to  Holland  for  the  Festival  ?  Our  '  little '  friend 
is  one  of  many  who  hope  you  may.  Heinrich  joins 
her  and  myself  in  kindest  remembrances,  and  we  wish 
with  all  the  fervour  of  our  concentrated  selfishness 
that  you  would  come  here.  There  are  such  nice  sunny 
apartments  in  this  neighbourhood ! — Yours  ever, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

61.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Graz,  July  25, 1879. 
My  dear  Herr  Brahms, — We  have  been  tied  here 
since  the  beginning  of  June  for  double  family  reasons, 
and  shall  not  get  away  to  our  dear  mountains  until  the 
beginning  of  August.  We  should  have  liked  to  go  to 
Carinthia  again,  but  fate  has  decided  otherwise.  Frau 
Schumann  goes  to  Gastein  at  the  end  of  July,  and,  as 
we  have  no  other  plans,  we  shall  do  ourselves  the 
pleasure  of  joining  her  there,  as  we  have  told  her. 
We  shall  be  at  Bockstein,  half  an  hour  from  Gastein, 
from  the  7th  to  the  14th  of  August,  staying  with  relatives, 
and  shall  visit  the  mineral  baths  virtuously.  My  original 
plan  was  to  look  you  up  at  PSrtschach  on  the  way,  pro- 


86  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

ceeding  to  Gastein  by  way  of  Spital  and  Mallnitz  (Hohe 
Tauern).  But  I  can't  expose  my  wife  to  the  fatigue  of 
an  eight-hour  ride  on  horseback,  and  must  therefore 
give  up  Carinthia  altogether.  You  need  not  be  angry, 
for  it  hits  us  hard  enough. 

You  are  sure  to  pay  Frau  Schumann  a  visit,  how- 
ever. How  would  it  be  if  you  arranged  for  us  to  meet 
you  at  Gastein  ?  Do  think  it  over,  and  give  us  the 
pleasure. 

Don't  leave  us  in  the  dark  as  to  your  decision,  either, 
but  write  soon  and  tell  us  you  agree,  and  will  do  it. — 
Ever  your  faithful  Herzogenberg. 

62.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

Graz,  July  31, 1879. 

My  very  dear  Friend,— As  you  intend  coming  to 
join  us,  and  are  not  afraid  of  the  twelve  hours'  train 
journey,  I  am  bound  to  provide  entertainment  for  you 
on  the  way.  When  you  get  into  the  carriage  at  Port- 
schach,  take  out  the  music  enclosed  in  this  cover  and 
abuse  it  to  your  heart's  content — always  provided  you 
have  nothing  better  to  do  or  to  read,  and  are  tired  of 
looking  out  at  the  green  landscape.  The  melodies  and 
the  words  are  taken  from  F.  M.  Bohme's  Old  German 
Liederhuch.^  Except  for  some  slight  variations,  I  have 
kept  to  his  version,  and  am  making  him  responsible  for 

*  Franz  Magnus  Bohme  (1827-1898),  theorist,  published  his  Ali- 
deutsches  Liedcrbudi,  a  collection  of  songs  and  melodies,  in  1877. 
This  was  followed  in  1893-94  by  a  new  edition  of  Ludwig  Erk's 
Licdcrhori  in  three  volumes.  Brahms  had  not  a  good  word  for  either 
collection,  and  the  German  Volkslieder  in  seven  numbers,  which  he 
published  through  Simrock,  may  be  regarded  as  an  artistic  protest 
against  Bohme  and  his  method.  Herzogenberg's  arrangements  are 
those  mentioned  by  his  wife  in  Letter  58. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  VOLKSLIEDER        8; 

its  accuracy.     My  concern  has  been  purely  with  the 
composition,  and  that  I  thoroughly  enjoyed. 

We  leave  on  Monday,  August  the  4th,  arriving  at 
Gastein  on  Tuesday.  We  shall  hardly  stay  there  more 
than  three  or  four  days,  as  lodging  is  sure  to  be  scarce 
bad,  and  dear.  From  there  v^e  go  to  Berchtesgaden, 
v^here  dear  Frau  Schumann  is  to  join  us  about  the 
14th  of  August,  if  I  understood  her  aright.  You  have 
doubtless  written  a  regular  *  Gewandhaus  piece,'  since 
you  speak  of  the  winter.  We  shall  take  you  at  your 
word.  Good  old  Thieriot  has  gone,  with  his  usual 
happy  imperturbability,  to  stay  at  the  most  hideou;; 
spot  in  Steiermark.  He  passes  through  Venice  on  hii. 
way  back  to  Graz — a  place  I  shall  have  much  pleasure 
in  turning  my  back  on  this  time.     Auf  Wiedersehen.—- 

^^^^^»  Herzogenberg. 

63.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[PORTSCHACH,  AllgUSf  2,  1 879.] 

Best  thanks  for  your  package,  which  takes  me 
back  for  the  moment,  with  an  ominous  sigh,  to 
certain  tricks  of  my  own  in  the  old  days.  Your 
plans,  and  Frau  Schumann's,  strike  me  as  so  varied 
and  uncertain  that  I  don't  know  what  to  do  myself. 
For  the  present  I  place  m^^  hopes  on  Berchtesgaden. 
It  would  be  charming  if  we  could  all  be  lazy  together 
there  for  a  few  days. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

Johannes  Brahms. 

64.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

Leipzig,  November  24,  1879. 
My  dear,  good  Friend, — You  have,  I  am  sure,  quite 
forgotten  us,  but  all  the  more  do  we  think  about  you. 


88  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Many  are  the  thoughts  that  speed  silently  toward  you 
in  your  blissful  unconsciousness,  and  here  is  one — 
chosen  because  it  needs  no  answer — of  which,  set 
forth  in  writing,  you  must  endure  to  be  made  aware. 
You  remember  I  took  the  liberty  at  Arnoldstein — of 
blessed  memory  ! — of  copying  one  or  two  songs  with- 
out your  kind  permission.  You  graciously  allowed  me 
to  keep  the  copy,  however,  and  to  show  it  to  anyone 
possessed  of  a  pretty  face  or  any  other  recommendation. 
It  so  happens  that  a  very  nice  girl,  an  alto,  who  is 
staying  with  us  for  the  Bach  concert,  has  sung  and 
pored  over  the  glorious  Todessehnen*  until  she  longs 
to  have  it  and  be  able  to  sing  it — in  public  as  well.  It 
sounds  so  splendid,  you  see,  that  one  yearns  to  share 
it  with  a  multitude  of  people  ;  it  is  so  divinely  vocal 
that — well,  I  will  only  say  she  will  fade  away  altogether 
unless  she  is  permitted  to  have  it.  But  permit  it  you 
must ;  let  us  be  conscientious  at  all  costs  !  So  please 
say  yes  (or  no  !)  on  a  post-card  to  seal  Fraulein  Fides 
Keller's  fate.  She  sings  the  *  Mussel' f  charmingly, 
too,  and  would  like  to  have  it  to  put  in  her  cupboard. 

And  when  are  we  really  going  to  see  you  here, 
pray  ?  You  are  coming  in  January  for  certain ;  we  are 
counting  on  that,  and  looking  forward  to  it  immensely. 
Seriously,  the  thought  of  this  refreshing  annual  visit  is 
the  one  thing  that  enables  us  to  put  up  with,  and 
swallow,  certain  things  here.  I  prefer  to  say  nothing 
about  your  sonata.^  What  a  lot  you  must  have  had 
to  listen  to  already — to  the  point  or  otherwise — on  the 
subject !  You  must  be  aware  that  it  appeals  to  the 
affections  as  do  few  other  things  in  the  realm  of  music. 

•  Op.  86,  No.  6.  t  Therese,  Op.  86,  No.  i. 

%  The  Violin  Sonata  in  G,  Op.  78,  which  was  completed  in  the 
summer  of  1879. 


FIRST  VIOLIN  SONATA  89 

You  interpret  it  this  way,  that  way,  lose  yourself  in 
blissful  dreaming  as  you  listen  to  it,  and  become  an 
enthusiast  of  the  first  order.  The  last  movement  in 
particular  holds  you  enthralled,  for  the  soul  of  it  posi- 
tively overflows,  and  you  ask  yourself  whether  it  can 
be  just  this  piece  in  G  minor  that  so  moves  you,  or 
something  else  that  has  taken  possession  of  your  inmost 
self,  unknown  to  you.  And  then  there  is  that  dear 
jT5  J  which  almost  deludes  you  every  time  into  think- 
ing that  Brahms  '  discovered '  the  dotted  quaver. 

Here  I  am  chattering  away  after  all,  poor  dear  man  ! 
Please  send  a  post-card,  and  let  it  say  you  are  coming, 
won't  you  ?  When  shall  I  receive  the  something  dedi- 
cated to  me,  which  is  my  due  after  ignominiously 
relinquishing  the  other  to  Herr  Allgeyer?*  I  call  it 
base  to  promise  anyone  such  a  Christmas  present  and 
then  snatch  it  away  again. 

My  greeting  to  you.     When  I  play  the  last  page  of 

the  adagio  in  E  flat  with   the  heavenly  pedal   note,t 

getting  slower  and  slower  to  make  it  last  longer,  I 

always  feel  you  must  be  a  good  sort  after  all.    Prove  it 

by  coming  to  visit  us  poor  Leipzigers. — Ever  yours 

sincerely, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

Do  you  know,  by  the  way,  that  your  fiddle  sonata 
is  *  somewhat  free  in  construction,'  and  that  every 
movement  is  'written  straight  on'  without  repeats! 
(If  one  could  only  make  these  people  say  what  they 
mean  by  *  written  straight  on  '!)    But  the  last  movement 

♦  Ballads  and  Romances,  Op.  75,  dedicated  to  Julius  Allgeyer, 
painter,  engraver,  and  photographer,  also  Anselm  Feuerbach's  bio- 
grapher, whose  friendship  with  Brahms  dated  from  1853. 

t  Op.  78,  p.  20,  bar  5. 


90  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

is  *so  rich  in  material  that  another  composer  might 
boldly  call  it  a  first  movement.'  Isn't  it  amusing  of 
the  Kolner  Zeitung  to  be  so  wise  ! 


65.  Brahms  to  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna]  November,  1879. 

My  most  honoured  and  dear,  or  most  dear  and 
HONOURED,  Friend, — I  will  confess,  though  with  some 
constraint,  that  your  letter  was  a  real  act  of  charity, 
for  1  was  beginning  to  think  you  had  some  grievance 
against  me.  Apparently  not?  As  you  are  inclined  to 
think  me  a  good  sort,  and  I  can  vouch  for  its  being  the 
case,  I  beg  to  suggest  that  it  is  a  pity  to  drift  apart  on 
account  of  side-issues.  We  meet  with  little  enough 
that  is  good  and  few  enough  of  the  good  sort  in  this 
short  life. 

Therefore  I  thank  you  again,  with  meaning,  for  the 
cordial  which  your  kind  letter  proved  to  be.  Please 
don't  suppress  any  nice  things  you  have  to  say  about 
my  music.  A  little  flattery  is  always  sw^eet,  and  the 
generality  of  people  are  dumb  until  they  find  some- 
thing to  cavil  at. 

Indeed  I  want  to  see  your  beautiful  name  on 
the  most  beautiful  possible  piece,  but  at  the  crucial 
moment  it  never  seems  to  be  just  that !  I  did  think  of 
the  sonata,*  but  you  remember  we  were  none  of  us 
quite  satisfied  with  it  at  Salzburg  ?t 

But  I  am  forgetting  your  singer.  You  had  better 
give   her  what  she  wants,  with  the  usual   elaborate 

*  Violin  and  pianoforte  sonata,  Op.  78. 

t  Brahms  had  visited  Joachim  at  Aigen,  near  Salzburg,  in  August, 
and  had  played  through  the  sonata  with  him,  the  Herzogenbergs 
coming  over  from  Berchtesgaden  for  the  purpose. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  VOLKSLIEDER        91 

formalities.     But  I  don't  want  the  word  '  manuscript ' 
on  any  programme,  as  it  might  offend  other  singers. 

Let  me  finish  as  I  began,  with  some  timid  remarks. 
The  tricky  passages  in  the  new  trios*  are  charming, 
but  I  am  reminded  of  the  trickiness  of  the  volks- 
lieder,t  to  which  I  cannot  reconcile  myself.  I  am 
hardly  at  liberty  to  say  much  on  the  point,  as  I 
am  forced  to  remember  the  innumerable  tricked-out 
volkslieder  I  myself  have  perpetrated.  One  specimen 
still  exists,  unfortunately.^  We  must  have  a  chat 
about  it  all  sometime.  I  am  inclined  to  think  Herr 
Heinz  will  not  be  pleased  later  on  to  know  his  are  in 
print  either,  besides  which  they  seem  to  me  peculiarly 
difficult — and  so  on  ! 

Any  letter  that  is  finer  than  the  average — or  more 
idiotic — is  liable  to  fall  into  the  market  and  become 
public  property.  Take  warning  by  the  first  instance 
and  —  don't  you  think  the  enclosed  a  fair  example 
of  the  second  ?§  Yes,  D  major  is  certainly  an  easy 
key. 

I  have  still  one  blank  page,  so  will  write  down  a  jest 
of  Mosenthal'sll  which  is  going  the  round  here.  He 
was  complaining  that  I  was  too  sober  for  anything  in 
my  art.  I  protested  that  I  could  be  gay  on  occasion, 
and  he  admitted  this,  but  added  :  'Yes,  when  you  are 
really  worked  up  and  feel  hilarious,  you  sing :  Das 
Grab  ist  meine  Freude  !  'IF 

*  Herzogenb erg's  String  Trios,  Op.  27. 
t  C/.  Letter  62,  note. 

X  Deutsche  Volkslieder  fiir  vierstimmigen  Chor  geseizt,  published  in 
1864  without  opus  number. 

§  A  letter  from  some  member  of  the  committee, 

II  S.  H.  Mosenthal,  author  of  the  poem  Deborah.    Brahms  met  him 
sometimes  in  society  and  in  the  Viennese  restaurants. 

^  *  The  grave  is  my  delight.* 


92  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  am  quite  curious  to  know  what  sort  of  cantatas  you 

do.*     I  should  Hke  to  come  and  listen  ! 

Kindest  remembrances  to  you  both  and  a  few  others 

from  yours  most  sincerely, 

J.  Brahms. 

Please  tell  Kirchner  his  Davidshundler\  are  quite 
safe.  He  shall  have  them  back  all  right ;  it  is  only  my 
laziness  which  has  made  me  keep  them  so  long. 


66.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  November  28,  1879. 

My  DEAR  Friend, — I  can  return  your  thanks  with 
interest — compound  interest.  It  is  long  since  any- 
thing gave  us  so  much  pleasure  as  your  letter.  You 
see,  we  ordinary  mortals  can't  help  thinking  sometimes 
that  a  man  like  you  must  accept  all  the  tribute  of  love 
and  respect  paid  him  as  a  tribute  merely,  for  which  he 
is  vaguely  grateful  in  the  mass  without  realizing  very 
definitely  the  share  contributed  by  the  individual. 
This  being  so,  it  is  particularly  heartening  to  find  we 
do  matter  a  little  after  all,  and  your  charming  way  of 
putting  it  is  worth  more  to  us  than  I  can  say. 

The  letter  you  enclose  is  really  classic,  but  I  could 
not  think  of  taking  it  for  my  collection  of  autographs ; 
you  must  keep  it  in  your  own  possession.  .  .  . 
I  should  like  to  chatter  on,  but  have  some  parts  to 
correct  for  the  concert  to-morrow,  and  have  various 
sad  visits  to  pay.  Our  poor  old  Klengel  died  yester- 
day at  the  age  of  sixty-one.  His  six  children  are  quite 
overwhelmed  with  grief,  for  they  adored  him.     They 

*  At  the  Bach-Verein.  t  Neue  Davidsbiindler  Tdnze,  Op.  18. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  VOLKSLIEDER        93 

are  now  like  lost  sheep.     It  seems  to  us  there  is  more 
trouble  than  usual  this  winter. 

Heinz  sends  greetings,  and  thanks  you  for  your  kind 
words  about  the  trios.  He  still  hopes  you  might  judge 
the  bulk  of  the  volkslieder  more  leniently  if  you 
heard  them.  We  really  found  them  easy  to  sing,  and 
everything  worked  out  satisfactorily  in  practice.  One 
or  two  of  them  he  admits  to  be  too  tricky. 

Fraulein  Keller  thanks  you  for  the  songs.  She  has 
an  extremely  sympathetic  alto  voice  and  is  thoroughly 
musical.  I  wish  she  could  have  a  chance  of  singing  in 
Vienna.  Remember  me  to  Artur  Faber.  He  is  a 
splendid  fellow,  and  I  shall  not  fail  to  assure  his  wife 
of  the  great  pleasure  it  gave  me  to  have  this  glimpse  of 
him.  Well,  good-bye,  and  again  many  thanks.  What 
could  make  you  think  we  had  a  grievance  against  you? 
It  is  a  mystery  to  me,  and  yet,  what  matter  ?  You  are 
well  informed  now  at  least.  Don't  let  us  lose  you, 
dear  Friend. — Yours  ever, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

6"].  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  December  i,  1879. 

Dear  Friend, — I  am  returning  your  precious  manu- 
script, having  first  hastily  committed  it  to  memory. 
I  also  send  the  programme  of  our  concert  for  which 
you  so  kindly  asked.  The  performance  was,  as  usual, 
a  great  pleasure  to  us,  and  an  ample  reward  for  our 
pains.  It  is  one  of  the  proudest  moments  of  our  life 
when  the  chorus  show  their  grasp  of  the  thing  and 
rise  to  the  occasion.  They  forget  themselves  and 
their  nervousness,  and  exchange  happy  looks  in  all  the 
beautiful  parts,  while  the  basses  are  really  affected  by 


94  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  passage  Ich  aber  werde  traurig  seiity  and  sing  it 
exquisitely.  One  realizes  the  collectivity  of  this  mass 
under  the  power  of  one  great  personality.  Such 
moments  are  precious  indeed  !  Our  chief  pleasure  is 
to  watch  the  enthusiasm  of  the  singers  grow  with  each 
rehearsal,  and  we  count  it  our  chief  glory  to  have 
aroused  that  enthusiasm;  for  there  are  very  few  who 
have  it  in  them  to  begin  with — the  real  thing,  that 
has  nothing  in  common  with  the  rank  and  file  con- 
ventional admiration  of 'good  old  Bach.' 

Radecke*  is  a  capital  organist,  who  does  not  merely 
sit  and  pull  out  the  stops  in  due  order. 

But  no  more  of  that.  There  is  a  more  important 
matter,  which  I  forgot  to  mention  last  time.  For 
heaven's  sake  don't  come  just  at  Christmas,  for  we 
shall  be  away  ourselves — unfortunately,  for  we  should 
love  to  stay  at  home.  But  you  will  come  some  time, 
won't  you  ? 

We  buried  Klengel  to-day,  and  sang  Bach  over  his 
grave  as  well  as  we  could. 

Good-bye,  dear,  dear  Friend.     Heinz  the  good  sends 

kindest  regards,  as  does  his  faithful 

Elisabet. 


68.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  February  4,  1880. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — You  rejoiced  my  heart  by 
sending  those  glorious  pieces.f  They  were  the  more 
unexpected  as  I  never  dreamed  you  would  have  time 
to   think   of  it   before  your  concert   to-day   and   the 

*  Robert   Radecke   (b.    1830),   violinist,    pianist,    organ  virtuoso, 
musical  director,  etc. 

t  Two  Rhapsodies,  Op.  79. 


TWO  RHAPSODIES  95 

triumphal  tour  through  Poland.*  At  best  1  only 
looked  forward  to  receiving  the  coveted  treasure  some 
weeks  from  now,  and  was  thankful  to  find — after  a 
G  minor  nightt  I  spent  recently — that  I  remembered 
more  than  I  thought  at  first.  But  a  night  like  that 
is  terrible,  and  the  Almighty  ought  really  to  be  more 
merciful — if  he  is  musical.  Scraps  of  the  glorious 
whole  pursue  you,  and  you  try  vainly  to  connect  them. 
All  at  once  one  bar  shines  clearly  through  the  fog,  then 
another,  and  you  feel  you  are  getting  on,  and  join  up 
phrase  with  phrase  only  to  discover  new  gaps,  until 
finally,  in  despair,  you  wish  all  good  music  (for  that  is 
the  only  kind  that  torments  you)  at  Jericho,  and  fall 
back  on  counting  up  to  a  hundred  to  make  you  sleepy. 
But  sleep  sees  through  you,  and  eludes  you  in  good 
earnest,  until  at  last — at  last  the  blessed  moment  comes 
when  you  lose  consciousness.  Sad  that  we  are  never 
able  to  appreciate  that  moment  when  it  comes ! 

But  at  sight  of  the  two  much-admired  pieces  I  forgot 
all  my  grief  and  pain,  and  greeted  them  like  old  friends. 
It  is  hard  to  believe  that  there  ever  was  a  time  when  I 
did  not  know  them,  so  quickly  does  the  barely  acquired 
treasure  become  incorporated  with  the  accumulation  of 
long  standing.  Once  known  and  loved,  it  is  a  posses- 
sion for  all  time.  And,  indeed,  these  pieces  seem  to 
me  beautiful  beyond  measure — more  and  more  beautiful 
as  I  come  to  know  their  bends  and  turnings,  their 
exquisite  ebb  and  flow,  which  affects  me  so  extra- 
ordinarily, especially  in   the  G  minor.     Then,  too,  I 

*  Joachim  played  the  Brahms  violin  concerto  again  in  Vienna  on 
February  3,  after  which  the  two  started  on  a  tour  through  Poland 
and  Galicia. 

t  A  night  spent  in  recalling  the  second  of  the  two  Rhapsodies,  in 
G  minor. 


96  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

have  the  comfort  which  can  only  come  of  knowing  that 
I  can  feast  my  eyes  and  ears  on  it  all  as  often  as  I  like. 
I  still  think  the  pathetic  bit  at  the  close  of  the  develop- 
ment* unique  in  its  way,  and  am  tempted  to  join  the 
worthy  Leipzigers  in  their  delighted  outbursts  over 
'these  crescendV  and  'these  decrescencii,'  and  this 
working-up  on  the  dominant  E  until  it  relaxes  peace- 
fully to  take  a  fresh  breath  on  the  lunga  (^).t 

But  the  fact  that  the  G  minor  is  my  favourite  does 
not  make  me  insusceptible  to  the  rugged  beauty  of  the 
B  minor  with  its  very  sweet  trio.  The  way  the  trio 
theme  is  indicated  beforehand  J  is  quite  wonderful. 
Indeed,  the  whole  of  this  episode,  with  the  right-hand 
triplets  and  the  expressive  basses,  is  another  case  where 
words  are  inadequate.  One  is  so  glad  that  the  piece 
closes  with  that  too,  leaving  the  most  impressive  part 
uppermost  in  the  mind. 

Ah  yes !  you  have  indeed  made  us  very  happy 
again — not  less  by  your  visit,§  whose  only  fault  was 
that  of  being  too  brief,  like  much  else  connected  with 
your  doings.  Have  we  not  been  remonstrating  with 
you  this  age  for  letting  us  wait  so  long  for  a  real  big, 
long-winded  composition  ?  Just  a  G  major  sonata  is 
really  too  insignificant  an  output  for  one  year,  and  your 
Polish  tour,  which  is  to  steal  so  much  time,  we  contem- 
plate sadly  and  grudgingly,  insatiable  and  greedy  that 
we  are  !  It  has  been  my  luck  to  miss  everything  that 
has  been  performed  of  yours  this  winter|| :  the  violin 

*  P.  15,  bar  15  et  seq.        f  P.  17,  bars  1-7.        %  P.  5,  bars  19-23. 

§  Brahms  had  called  at  Leipzig  on  his  way  home  from  a  concert- 
tour  on  the  Rhine,  and  it  was  on  this  occasion  that  Frau  von  Herzo- 
genberg  became  acquainted  with  the  rhapsodies. 

II  The  performance  of  Brahms's  violin  concerto  on  December  28 
by  Joachim  ;  of  the  8  KlaviersUicke  on  January  4  by  Btilow  ;  the 
Haydn  Variations  and  Song  of  Destiny  at  the  Gewandhaus  under 


TWO  RHAPSODIES  97 

concerto,  the  Sonf^  of  Destiny^  the  sextet,  and  the 
unfortunate  Rinaldo,  which  was  so  disgracefully  badly 
done  that  my  poor  Heinz  came  home  quite  miserable. 
So  you  see  we  have  double  reason  to  hope  to  see  you 
in  April,  with  something  good  in  your  pocket,  even  if 
it  be  no  G  minor.    *  One  can't  always  write  in  G  minor.' 

My  cough  has  been  lively  again,  and  I  have  had  to 
lie  up,  bandaged  in  Priessnitz.  My  doctor  thinks  there 
is  a  strong  tendency  to  permanent  catarrh,  which  must 
not  be  allowed  on  account  of  my  heart  trouble.  He  is 
therefore  most  anxious  that  we  should  accept  my 
sister's  long-standing  invitation  to  Florence,  and  con- 
vey ourselves  thither  in  the  spring.  The  project  seems 
to  me  too  magnificent,  for  various  reasons.  True,  the 
few  weeks'  complete  rest  we  should  have  at  my 
sister's  makes  it  practicable,  but  it  still  seems  too  good 
to  come  true.  I  feel  I  don't  deserve  it.  In  any  case, 
the  Berchtesgaden  visit  will  not  fall  through. 

Good-bye  now,  and  let  your  two  loyal  friends  thank 
you  once  more  for  the  refreshing  message.  I  suppose 
we  may  copy  out  the  pieces,  and,  if  the  copy  proves 
irreproachable,  even  barter  it  for  something  else  ? 

Don't  be  afraid  to  scold  if  you  think  me  too  brazen  ! 

— Your  old  friend, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

69.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  February  14,  1880.] 
Please  do  not  have  the  pieces  written  out,  as  I  have 
a  fair  copy.     I  can  only  send  my  best  thanks,  in  haste, 

Reinecke  ;  the  G  major  sextet  at  the  Gewandhaus  Kammcrmusik 
and  at  the  Riedel  Verein  ;  and  the  cantata  Rinaldo  at  the  Paulus 
Verein. 


98  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

for   the   kind   letter   which    I    was   delighted   to   find 
yesterday  on  my  arrival. — Yours  very  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

70.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  1880.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — It  really  is  not  nice  of  you 
to  go  so  far  away  without  even  leaving  an  address. 
It  might  bring  the  most  important  business  to  a  stand- 
still, and  I  am  writing  on  business  to-day  ! 

If  Herr  Astor*  does  not  know  where  to  forward 
the  letter,  it  is  not  my  fault.  Herr  Simrock  will 
assuredly  not  trouble  about  my  woes,  but  will  simply 
send  a  blank  title-page  into  the  world. 

You  see,  I  want  to  publish  certain  two  pieces  you 
know  of. 

Can  you  suggest  a  better  title  than  Zwei  Rhapsodien 
fur  das  Pianoforte  ?]  You  cannot  suggest  a  better 
dedication — that  is,  if  you  will  allow  me  to  put  your 
dear  and  honoured  name  on  this  trash. 

But  how  to  write  it  ? — Elsa  or  Elisabet  ?  Freifrau 
or  Baronin  ?  Nee  or  not  ? 

Forgive  all  these  frivolous  remarks,  but  write  a  line 
at  once  to  Ischl,  Salzburgerstrasse  51,  where  I  expect 
to  go  to-morrow.  I  hope  you  will  find  more  to  say 
at  the  same  time,  especially  that  you  are  in  excellent 
health  and  are  having  a  splendid  time  in  that  glorious 
city. 

In  great  haste,  and  with  kindest  regards  to  you  and 

Herr  Heinz. — Yours  most  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

*  Edmund  Astor,  Herzogenberg's  friend  and  publisher, 
t  The   inscriptions   over   the   two  pieces   in  the  manuscript  are 
respectively  :  Capriccio  {presto  agitato)  and  Molto  passionato. 


TWO  RHAPSODIES  99 

71.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  io  Brahms. 

Florence,  Via  dei  Bardi,  22, 

c/o  Frau  Brewster  {my  sister), 

May  3,  1880. 

My  dear  Friend, — What  a  charming  surprise  !  For, 
in  spite  of  your  breathing  from  time  to  time  of  a  kind 
intention  to  dedicate  something  to  me,  I  never  quite 
believed  in  it,  especially  since  Herr  Allgeyer's  igno- 
minious robbery  of  the  other  ;  and  now  you  put  me  to 
shame  by  giving  me  just  these  two  glorious  pieces  for 
my  own.  I  need  not  dwell  upon  my  great  delight  over 
the  dedication.  You  know  whether  I  love  these  pieces 
or  not,  and  you  know  whether  I  am  bound  to  be 
delighted  or  not  at  seeing  my  name  flaunt  itself  on 
a  production  of  your  brain.  So  let  me  say  simply 
thank  you,  though  with  all  my  heart.  As  to  your 
inquiry,  you  know  I  am  always  most  partial  to  the 
non-committal  word,  Klavierstucke^  just  because  it  is 
non-committal ;  but  probably  that  won't  do,  in  which 
case  the  name  Rhapsodien  is  the  best,  I  expect,  although 
the  clearly-defined  form  of  both  pieces  seems  some- 
what at  variance  with  one's  conception  of  a  rhapsody. 
But  it  is  practically  a  characteristic  of  these  various 
designations  that  they  have  lost  their  true  character- 
istics through  application,  so  that  they  can  be  used  for 
this  or  that  at  will,  without  many  qualms — ^und  Nam 
ist  Schall  und  Ranch,  nmnehelnd  Himmelsklarheit'* 
Welcome,  then,  ye  (to  me)  nameless  ones,  in  your 
nebulous  garb  of  rhapsodies ! 

How  glad  I  am  that  you  have  been  in  Italy,  so  that  I 
do  not  need  to  tell  you  anything.     If  I  say  I  am  sitting 

*  From  Goethe's  Faust.     '  Himmclsklarheit '  should  be  *  Hinimds- 
glut.* 

7—2 


100  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

in  the  open  door  of  the  balcony  looking  out  over  the 
Arno,  almost  exactly  between  Ponte  delle  Grazie  and 
Ponte  Vecchio,  you  know  what  that  means,  and  just 
how  blue  the  sky  is  overhead  ;  how  sweet  and  soothing 
the  mountains  are  in  the  background,  and  what  my 
frame  of  mind  is  as  I  gaze  on  this  splendour.  I  know 
it  all  under  a  hundred  different  aspects,  thanks  to  the 
revelations  I  have  had  during  the  past  weeks.  I  have 
involuntarily  so  woven  the  detail  into  the  whole,  and 
again  unravelled  the  whole  into  detail,  that  my  affection 
for  this  heavenly  place  is  ever  on  the  increase,  and  I 
am  sad  to  think  how  soon  we  must  leave  it,  and  tear 
our  eyes  from  what  has  become  indispensable  to  them. 
I  am  so  glad  you  have  been  here  too,  and  have  had  the 
joy  of  discovering  that  your  eyes  can  see  the  inspiring 
beauty  which  surrounds  you,  even  though  you  grew 
up  in  such  distant  surroundings.  The  wonder  is  that 
we  could  be  content  with  so  little  all  this  time — with  a 
Katharinenstrasse,  an  ancient  Rathaus  1  This  people, 
one  humbly  confesses,  was  impelled  to  produce  fine 
things,  masterpieces,  in  lavish  abundance,  to  satisfy  its 
own  cravings.  Yet  it  retained  its  gay,  martial  spirit, 
and,  never  content  to  rest  beside  its  own  work,  made 
such  haste  to  destroy  its  neighbours'  that  it  is  amazing 
to  find  how  much  escaped  destruction.  And  to-day 
this  same  wonderful  nation  is  worse  than  dead  !  The 
modern  Italian  who  dashes  from  Bargello  to  the  Palazzo 
Vecchio  has  almost  less  connection  with  the  history 
and  art  of  his  country,  is  almost  less  worthy  to  possess 
such  treasures,  than  we  gaping  barbarians ;  for  we,  at 
least,  come  imbued  with  a  certain  childlike  awe. 

But  here  I  am,  chattering  away  when  I  ought  to 
be  telling  you  more  important  things,  as,  for  instance, 
that  we  hope  to  be  at  Berchtesgaden  early  in  July ; 


SUMMER  PLANS  loi 

that  the  Engelmanns  follow  with  four  infants  at  the 
end  of  July,  and  that  we  think  it  would  be  so  very  nice 
and  sensible  if  you  joined  us  there.  As  Herr  Muller* 
you  seemed  half  inclined  for  Berchtesgaden,  so  I  hope 
Herr  Brahms  will  be  of  the  same  mind.  We  will  take 
rooms  for  you  and  arrange  everything  beautifully,  and, 
once  you  are  there,  treat  you  nicely  or  leave  you  in 
peace,  just  as  you  wish  ;  in  short,  you  shall  have  every- 
thing you  want.  It  is  so  particularly  nice  to  meet  in 
the  summer.  We  want  it  so  much.  Please,  please, 
tell  us  soon  whether  we  may  count  on  it. 

What  can  take  you  to  Ischl  ?  Is  it  so  comfortable  ? 
I  thought  half  Vienna  disported  itself  there. 

You  must  tell  us  a  great  deal  about  Dusseldorf.t  I 
cannot  console  myself  for  not  having  been  able  to 
go  for  the  festival.  When  the  day  came,  I  thought  to 
myself :  *  Confound  Italy ! '  In  reply  to  another  of  your 
questions,  we  are  very  well.  Heinrich  suns  himself 
like  a  salamander,  and  purrs  for  happiness  like  a  cat. 
When  we  are  not  feeding  at  Bargello's  or  elsewhere, 
he  writes  coffee-fugues  t  to  make  up  his  dozen.  We 
went  to  two  very  funny  concerts  here,  and  came  to 
the  conclusion  that  it  would  not  do  to  live  here,  in  spite 
of  all  the  attractions.  We  should  go  off  our  heads  in 
a  country  which  boasts  only  one  copy  of  the  Bach 
Ausgabe,  and  where  all  that  we  value  most  has  literally 
no  shadow  of  a  foothold. 

*  Brahms  had  apparently  said  he  would  not  mind  going  to  Berch- 
tesgaden as  Herr  Muller — that  is,  as  a  private  person,  without 
responsibilities. 

f  A  slip  of  the  pen  for  Bonn,  where  a  festival  was  held,  from 
May  2  to  May  4,  to  celebrate  the  unveiling  of  the  Schumann  monu- 
ment. Joachim  played  Brahms's  violin  concerto,  and  was  joint- 
director  of  the  festival  with  Brahms. 

X  On  the  notes  c,  a,  f,  f,  e,  e. 


102  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

But    good-bye    now,   and    may   we    soon    meet    at 

Berchtesgaden.     How  I  am  looking  forward  to  it,  and 

to   the   Rhapsodies  beforehand !     I   feel    like   a   small 

capitalist  in  prospect  of  this  dear,  beautiful  possession. 

For  the  rest,  I  will  answer  your  last  question  by  signing 

my  own  name,  such  as  it  is,  and  such  as  you  know  it. — 

Yours  sincerely, 

Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

You  have  always  written  it  in  this  way.  What 
brings  you  to  this  idiotic  question  ? 

^2.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 
Berchtesgaden, 

C/O   '  ZiMMERMEISTER  '    BRANDXER, 

July  II,  1880. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Is  it  true,  as  we  hear  through 
the  paper  (indirectly,  for  we  never  open  one  ourselves), 
that  you  are  not  well  ?*  We  can  hardly  believe  it,  for 
it  is  not  at  all  like  you ;  but  I  must  ask,  so  as  to  be 
ready  to  let  loose  all  the  flood  of  sympathy  I  hold 
ready  at  your  disposal.  I  should  grieve  more  for  you 
when  not  very  well  than  for  others  downright  ill,  for 
you  are  such  a  complete  stranger  to  illness — lucky 
man ! — and  would  certainly  be  a  bad  patient. 

Write  a  line  soon  to  reassure  us,  and  tell  us  at  the 
same  time  what  chance  we  have  of  seeing  you  here. 
We  want  you  badly;  the  mere  prospect  makes  us 
happy.  I  am  flattering  myself  that  you  will  bring  a 
quantity  of  things  this  time,  either  in  your  trunk  or 
in  your  head — both  for  choice — so  that  we  can  have 
a  good  look  at  what  you  have  to  show,  and  take  it 
with   us  on   our  walks.     Ever  since   the   Portschach 

*  Brahms  was  suffering  from  aural  catarrh. 


A  CRITIC  103 

motet*  I  have  been  longing  for  you  to  write  more 
choral  things ;  and  when  I  think  of  you  with  your 
pockets  full  of  good  things,  like  a  child's  St.  Nicholas, 
it  is  always  a  vision  of  motets,  or  the  like,  which  dazzles 
my  greedy  eyes. 

Did  Ehlert's  article  in  the  Rundschau  infuriate  you 
too,  I  wonder  ?t  Why  does  no  one  ever  say  the  right 
thing  ?  Even  praise  is  offensive  from  such  a  source. 
I  call  it  low  to  discuss  anyone's  work  in  that  cheap, 
shallow  way.  The  man  puts  the  things  that  matter 
on  one  side,  and  gets  off  easily  with  would-be  witty 
comments  and  comparisons.  Beethoven  shows  his 
profile,  you  your  full  face,  indeed  !t  Your  variations 
are  different  from  Beethoven's  and  Schumann's  (as  if 
they  pretended  to  any  resemblance !),  yet  you  '  make 
your  bow  and  go  out  at  the  door  in  the  same  way.' 
What  is  the  use  of  such  twaddle  ?  Even  at  the 
mention  of  the  G  major  sonata,  for  instance,  where 
one  yearns  for  a  little  warmth  and  sincerity,  there 
is  only  incomprehensive  stuff'  about  the  '  May  rain 
brushing  the  heads  of  the  flowers.'  Tell  me,  please, 
is  it  the  womenfolk  who  brought  all  this  mischief  into 
the  world,  or  do  the  men  say  these  insipidities  of  their 
own  accord  ?     It  was  news  to  me  that  the  Rhapsody 

*  Op.  74,  No.  I.     Cf.  Letters  40  and  41. 

f  Louis  Ehlert  (1825-1884),  composer  and  writer  on  music,  had 
published  an  essay  on  Brahms  in  the  June  number  of  Rodenberg's 
Deutsche  Rundschau. 

%  Ehlert  had  said  :  *  Brahms's  music  has  no  profile,  only  a  full 
face.  It  lacks  the  strongly-marked  features  which  stamp  the  expres- 
sion absolutely.  .  .  .  My  observations  have  led  me  to  conclude 
that  nothing  is  so  persistently  transmitted  through  many  generations 
as  gestures.  ...  His  variations  have  practically  no  resemblance  left 
in  their  faces  to  those  of  Beethoven  and  Schumann,  yet  they  occa- 
sionally make  their  bow  and  go  out  at  the  door  in  the  same  way.' 


I04  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

sprang  from  a  'worldly  impulse.'  The  man  cannot 
even  feel  the  pulse-beat  of  a  piece  that  stirs  one  to  the 
very  marrow,  and  yet  has  the  presumption  to  take 
stock  of  an  artist's  personality  and  sit  in  judgment 
on  him ! 

One  should  be  used  to  this  sort  of  thing,  but  some- 
how rage  gets  the  upper  hand  every  time.  If  only 
someone  would  find  the  right  message  to  send  out 
into  the  world !  Better  leave  the  beautiful  to  find  its 
own  way  into  the  hearts  of  men,  and  let  no  one  write 
on  art  at  all,  than  endure  this  nonsense. 

But  enough  of  these  sad  evils,  which  we  cannot 
remedy.  You  must  write,  write  any  amount,  so  that 
we  may  forget  all  the  deplorable,  futile  twaddle  we 
hear  in  our  joy  over  what  you  give  us. 

When  may  we  expect  you  ?  Shall  I  be  able  to 
greet  the  Engelmanns,  who  are  to  turn  up  here  soon, 
with  a  joyful  piece  of  information  ?  I  am  not  at  all 
sorry  the  Rhapsodies  are  not  yet  out  (as  announced), 
for  I  shall  now  have  the  pleasure  of  playing  them  to 
Emma  as  an  entire  novelty,  putting  on  considerable 
airs  for  the  occasion. 

We  have  a  cottage  piano  from  Munich,  gorgeously 
black  and  shiny  outside,  though  it  is  a  wretched  little 
instrument.  Still,  it  is  not  to  be  despised,  as  summer 
pianos  go,  and  you  have  a  way  of  making  the  notes 
sing  on  all  sorts  of  pianos,  as  witness  the  B  flat  in  the 
middle  part  of  the  B  minor  capriccio.*  Good-bye  now, 
my  dear  Friend.  Heinz  sends  kindest  regards,  and 
we  both  look  forward  to  seeing  you. — Your  faithful 

H  ERZOGENBERGS. 

*  P.  lo,  bars  3  d  seq. 


FEARS  OF  DEAFNESS  105 

73.  Brahms  to  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[IscHL,  July  14,  1880.] 

My  dear  Friend, — You  are  really  too  kind  and  good 
to  bestow  another  quite  undeserved  letter  on  me — 
undeserved  in  every  sense,  for  I  cannot  even  claim 
indulgence  on  account  of  my  distinguished  complaint, 
which  proved  to  be  none  at  all.  My  ear  elected  to 
take  cold,  and,  as  I  prefer  to  keep  it  in  good  condition, 
I  consulted  an  ear  specialist.  He  had  it  under  his 
inspection  three  days,  waiting  for  something  to 
develop,  but  nothing  came.* 

Had  I  known  in  time  that  you  and  the  Engelmanns 
were  going  to  Berchtesgaden,  I  might  have  been 
tempted  to  leave  Austria — at  least,  I  think  I  might. 
How  much  more  sensible  if  you  came  here  another 
time,  though  !  It  is  really  beautiful,  and  you  are  free 
from  social  duties,  and  can  live  considerably  cheaper 
than  elsewhere.  The  fact  that  half  Vienna  comes  here 
does  not  trouble  me  at  present — in  fact,  I  have  posi- 
tively no  objection  to  all  Vienna !  I  should  probably 
fly  before  half  Berlin  or  half  Leipzig,  I  admit ;  but  half 
Vienna  is  quite  pretty,  and  will  bear  looking  at.  But 
I  must  and  will  pay  you  a  visit. 

The  Rhapsodies  and  the  new  'Hungarians'!  arrived 

*  Brahms  was,  however,  thoroughly  alarmed  by  his  sudden  deaf- 
ness, fearing  that  he  was  doomed  to  the  same  fate  as  Beethoven.  He 
left  for  Vienna  immediately,  having  wired  his  friend  Billroth  to  meet 
him  at  the  station.  Billroth  was  able  to  reassure  him,  and  direct 
him  to  a  specialist.  To  Brahms's  great  annoyance,  a  report  of  his 
illness  got  into  the  papers  through  an  indiscretion,  and  he  found  it  a 
serious  matter  to  reply  to  all  his  letters  of  sympathy. 

I  A  second  series  of  Hungarian  Dances  for  pianoforte  duet 
(books  Hi.,  iv.)  had  been  pubHshed  simultaneously  with  the  Rhap- 
sodies by  Simrock. 


io6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

with  your  letter.  I  wonder  if  you  will  simply  jeer  at 
them  and  let  them  go  ?  They  rather  amuse  me.  If 
they  should  amuse  you  likewise,  be  sure  you  tell  me 
so.  You  have  no  idea  how  kindly  I  take  to  that  sort 
of  thing !  You  will  receive  them  one  of  these  days,  as 
I  sent  off  your  address  immediately.  That  reminds 
me  I  did  not — or  do  not — know  the  Engelmanns' 
address  either,  and  cannot  remember*  whether  I 
forwarded  the  things  to  them  at  Utrecht.  Please 
remember  me  very  kindly  to  them.  Anything  that 
has  not  reached  them  shall  be  sent  on  after. 

I  am  quite  willing  to  write  motets,  or  anything  for 
chorus  (I  am  heartily  sick  of  everything  else !) ;  but 
won't  you  try  and  find  me  some  words  ?  One  can't 
have  them  made  to  order  unless  one  begins  before 
good  reading  has  spoilt  one.  They  are  not  heathenish 
enough  for  me  in  the  Bible.  I  have  bought  the  Koran 
but  can  find  nothing  there  either. 

But  daylight  has  departed,  and  a  man  wants  his 
supper.  Excuse  the  answer  to  your  last  (which  never 
came),  and  let  me  have  a  real  long  letter  real  soon. 

Kindest  regards  to  you  two  and  the  other  two. — 

Yours  most  sincerely, 

J.Br. 

74.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Berchtesgaden,  July  23,  1880. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — It  would  be  easy  just  to  say 
*  Thank  you,'  but  the  rest  is  the  difficulty,  and  it  is  just 
the  rest  that  matters.  I  have  already  given  you  my 
opinion  of  the  Rhapsodies  at  great  length,  but  am  quite 

*  Brahms  betrays  himself  as  a  native  of  Hamburg  in  his  use  of 
crinnern  for  sich  erinnern. 


TWO  RHAPSODIES  107 

ready  to  begin  from  the  beginning  and  tell  you  all 
over  again  what  you  know  without  being  told.  I  can 
see  so  well  now  that  it  is  not  everything  to  know  a 
piece  by  heart,  for,  with  the  two  pieces  before  me  in 
all  their  splendour,  I  seem  to  be  always  discovering 
new  features  ;  what  is  more,  I  am  better  able  to  grasp 
the  unity  pervading  this  multiform  structure.  It  is 
just  the  finest  works  of  art  which,  because  of  this 
unity,  seem  to  us  rather  the  work  of  Nature  in  their 
inevitableness,  their  air  of  having  been  there  from  all 
eternity. 

It  was  a  strange  surprise  to  me  to  find  that  glorious 
triplet  part,  which  originally  formed  the  introduction 
to  the  trio  as  well,  exalted  to  a  solitary  appearance  in 
the  coda.*  If  you  will  believe  me,  I  felt  so  strongly 
that  that  bit  ought  to  be  saved  up  to  make  its  powerful 
effect  at  the  close,  that  I  conceived  the  audacious  plan 
of  writing  to  supplicate  you,  but  was  restrained  by  my 
native  modesty.  Now  I  find,  to  my  joy,  that  my 
instinct  did  not  deceive  me.  The  five  fateful  bars 
before  the  trio  suffice  so  perfectly,  and  one  revels  all 
the  more  in  the  close,  which  must  have  come  to  you  at 
a  particularly  inspired  moment. 

But  I  miss  that  bar  at  the  end  of  the  trio  badly. 
I  like  the  G  sharp  and  G  in  the  more  extended 
original  form  much  better,  and  shall  go  by  my  manu- 
script— not  by  Simrock  !  There  is  one  note  I  cannot, 
cannot  understand.  It  is  in  the  trio,  page  6,  first  bar 
of  the  last  line  :  the  sustained  E.  The  voices  go  in 
such  nice  contrary  motion  without  it  [sic]. 

*  Page  II,  bar  7. 


io8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  simply  can't  understand  why  that  third  voice  should 
push  itself  in.  But  forgive  this  possibly  very  im- 
pertinent criticism. 

Finally,  let  me  thank  you  once  more  for  giving  me — 
me — these  particular  pieces.  I  cannot  tell  you  how 
great  a  joy  they  are  to  me. 

And  now  the  '  Hungarians ' !  I  can  well  believe 
that  they  amuse  you.  Delicious  as  the  earlier  ones 
were,  I  hardly  think  you  hit  off  the  indescribable  and 
unique  character  of  a  Hungarian  band  so  miraculously 
then  as  now.  This  medley  of  twirls  and  grace-notes, 
this  jingling,  whistling,  gurgling  clatter,  is  all  repro- 
duced in  such  a  way  that  the  piano  ceases  to  be  a 
piano,  and  one  is  carried  right  away  into  the  midst  of 
the  fiddlers.  What  a  splendid  selection  you  borrowed 
from  them  this  time,  and  how  much  more  you  give 
back  than  you  take  !  For  instance,  it  is  impossible  to 
imagine — though  I  may  be  mistaken — that  a  melody 
like  that  E  minor.  Number  20,  could  ever  have  taken 
on  such  a  perfect  form,  particularly  in  the  second  part, 
but  for  you.  Your  touch  was  the  magic  which  gave 
life  and  freedom  to  so  many  of  these  melodies.  What 
impresses  me  most  of  all  in  your  performance,  though, 
is  that  you  are  able  out  of  these  more  or  less  hidden 
elements  of  beauty  to  make  an  artistic  whole,  and  raise 
it  to  the  highest  level,  without  diminishing  its  primitive 
wildness  and  vigour.  What  was  originally  just  noise 
is  refined  into  a  beautiful  fortissimo^  without  ever 
degenerating  into  a  civilized  fortissimo  either.  The 
various  rhythmical  combinations  at  the  end,  which 
seem  to  have  come  to  you  so  apropos,  would  only  fit 
just  there,  and  are  amazingly  effective — as,  for  example, 
the  delightful  basses  in  tumultuous  Number  15.  That 
one  would  be  my  favourite,  anyway,  if  it  were   not 


HUNGARIAN  DANCES  109 

for  Numbers  20,  19,  18 — oh,  and  the  short,  sweet 
Number  14  !*  If  I  were  to  try  and  tell  you  all  we  have 
to  say  about  these  dances,  I  should  have  to  quote 
passage  after  passage,  until  I  had  copied  out  nearly  the 
whole  of  the  'Hungarians.'  I  am  longing  to  hear  you 
play  them.  Are  you  really  coming  soon  ?  We  and 
the  Engelmanns  hope  so  much  you  will  not  put  it  off 
too  long.  One  never  knows  what  may  come  between 
to  spoil  the  expected  pleasure. 

I  refuse  to  believe  there  is  nothing  else  to  be  found 
for  you  in  the  Bible.  There  is  still  plenty  of  material 
in  Job,  which  you  read  with  such  happy  results  before,t 
and  in  the  Psalms.  It  can't  really  hurt  you  if  a  thing 
has  been  composed  before  !  For  instance,  would  you 
not  make  your  hart  pant  quite  differently  after  the 
water-brooks  to  Mendelssohn's? J  Surely  such  words 
have  more  depth  and  immortality  than  many  a  Heine 
poem  which  has  been  done  a  hundred  times  over. 
But  perhaps  you  are  only  teasing  us  all  this  time,  and 
are  bringing  the  loveliest  motets  with  you. 

Kindest  remembrances  from  the  Engelmanns,  whom 
we  saw  yesterday.  It  is  such  a  pleasure  to  meet  them 
again,  and  have  some  real  good  talks  and  some  music. 
They  received  the  Rhapsodies  and  the  'Hungarians' 
long  ago.  Good-bye  now,  dear  friend,  and  let  us  see 
you  here  soon.  It  is  true  half  Leipzig  is  swarming 
here — crowds  of  parsons  ! — but,  O  joy,  we  know  them 
not!     And    the    natives — man    and    beast  —  are    too 

*  No.  14  is  Brahms's  original  work,  like  several  more  of  the  dances 
(see  Kalbeck,  Johannes  Brahms,  i.  66). 

t  Brahms  wrote  his  motet,  Op.  74,  No.  i,  on  words  taken  from 
Job.  In  writing  the  Vicr  crnstc  Gesdnge,  composed  in  1895,  Brahms 
may  have  recalled  her  words. 

%  '  As  the  Hart  pants,'  Mendelssohn,  Op.  42,  No.  i. 


no  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

charming.  And  you  will  find  excellent  coffee  at 
Zimmermeister  Brandner's.  And  a  few  people  who 
like  you. — Kindest  regards  from  us  both. 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


75.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

Leipzig,  November  25,  1880. 

Well,  here  they  are,  the  Sacred  Volkslieder^*  with 
a  request  for  a  kind  reception.  The  bad  ones  and  the 
most  tricky  I  have  kept  at  home — left  them  in  my 
desk — while  there  are  a  few  quite  harmless  ones  put 
in  to  fill  their  place ;  and  if  the  whole  collection 
hardly  comes  in  the  category  of  easy  choral  music,  it 
at  least  contains  nothing  that  I  have  not  proved  to  be 
practicable.  Embellishment  in  itself  does  no  harm, 
but  over-embellishment  is  more  serious,  and  soon  takes 
its  own  revenge. 

You  know  how  much  a  word  or  two  of  recognition 
from  you,  however  relative,  means  to  me ;  even  a  well- 
intentioned  refusal  or  condemnation  I  can,  and  have 
always  been  able  to,  appreciate  as  a  kindness.  But 
I  know,  too,  how  keen  an  interest  this  presupposes  on 
your  part,  an  interest  which  must  necessarily  be 
spontaneous,  and  is  not  to  be  had  for  the  asking.  If 
you  realized  how  I  turn  over  in  my  mind  any  casual 
remark  of  yours,  you  would  understand  why  I  am 
always  coming  to  you  in  spite  of  your  anything  but 
encouraging  attitude. 

You,  as  a  great  master,  would  be  hard  put  to  it 
indeed  to  respond  to,  or  even  grasp,  all  the  affection 
you  inspire  by  your  mere  existence,  by  your  presence. 
You   have   become   intimate  with   yourself  from   the 

*  Op.  28.     Cf.  Letters  58,  62,  65. 


•A  LOVE  LETTER'  iii 

habit  of  years,  and  those  with  whom  you  stood  on  an 
equal  footing  are  all  dead. 

When  you  began  to  know  Schumann  you  were, 
I  believe,  seventeen.*  I  feel  as  if  I  should  never  be 
older  than  eighteen  at  most  with  respect  to  you,  so 
you  must  put  up  with  something  like  a  love-letter  once 
in  a  way  from  such  a  hobbledehoy — all  the  more  now 
that  we  are  really  starving  after  a  long  fast  and  the 
bitter  disappointment  of  the  summer!  Shall  we  have 
the  joy  of  seeing  you  here  this  winter  with  something 
or  other  ?  We  could  meet  in  Berlin  very  soon,  if  you 
should  think  it  worth  while  to  come  over  for  the 
Brahms  Requiem.! 

When  I  think  of  little  girls  like  Fillu  and  Eugenie 

enjoying  the  privilege,  denied  to  ourselves,  of  hearing 

two  new  trio  movements  and  two  new  overtures,  I 

feel   very  sorelj      You   might   at    least   reassure    us. 

With    kindest    regards   from   my   wife, — Yours  most 

sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 

76.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  November  26,  1880.] 
My   dear   Friend, — Your   letter    has   this   moment 
arrived,  and  I  must  send  a  line  in  haste.     Are  you 

*  Brahms  was  twenty  when  he  came  to  Schumann  in  1853. 

f  A  performance  at  the  Hochschule  on  December  4,  conducted  by 
Joachim, 

X  Brahms  was  not  able  to  go  to  Berchtcsgaden  from  Ischl  until 
September  13,  after  the  Herzogenbergs  had  left.  Frau  Schumann 
was  staying  at  Vordereck,  near  Berchtcsgaden,  her  summer  house  for 
some  years,  and  Brahms  had  played  to  her  and  her  family  the 
Academic  and  Tragic  overtures,  and  two  movements  from  the  C  major 
trio,  Op.  87,  which  he  had  written  at  Ischl.  The  '  little  girls '  were, 
of  course,  Marie  Fillunger  and  Eugenie  Schumann. 


112  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

really  going  to  Berlin  for  the  4th  ?  I  have  promised 
to  go,  and  thought  of  proposing  a  visit  to  you  on  the 
7th.  On  the  morning  of  the  6th  we  expect  to  try  my 
two  overtures  in  Berlin,  so  perhaps  you  will  come 
and  listen,  too.  I  have  promised  to  do  them  at  Leipzig 
on  the  nth  of  January. 

*  «  *  «  * 

Your  dear  lady  kept  me  so  well  posted  up  all  the 
summer,  but  unfortunately  she  failed  to  tell  me  you 
were  leaving  so  early.  I  only  learned  this  disappoint- 
ing fact  on  seeing  Frau  Schumann,  and  through  her, 
when  it  was  too  late.  It  was  so  beautiful,  too,  at 
Berchtesgaden,  so  gay  and  sociable. 

I  broke  off  in  the  middle  of  other  correspondence, 
and  must  go  back  to  it  now.  I  hope  to  thank  you 
in  reasonable  fashion  for  the  songs  ;*  my  first  free 
hour  is  assigned  to  them.  Please  tell  me  plainly,  in  two 
words,  whether  you  are  going  to  Berlin  for  the  Requiem, 
and  can  stay  over  the  Sunday.  I  hope  to  do  the  over- 
ture  by  seven  o'clock  at  latest   on   the  6th. — Yours 

most  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

77.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  December  14,  1880. 

My  Dear  Friend, — You  would  have  had  a  sign 
of  life  from  Humboldtstrasse  before  this  if  I  had  not 
been  such  a  poor  creature,  sleeping  by  day,  waking  by 
night,  and  as  unhappy  as  a  naturally  happy  person  can 
be.  To-day  I  have  picked  up  somewhat,  and  hasten  to 
thank  you  for  the  delightful  hours  you  gave  us  here. 
It    meant    so    much   to   us   in    every   way   that  you 

*  Herzogenberg's  Sacred  Volkslieder, 


VISITS  TO  LEIPZIG  113 

came    back  with    us,   even  though    it  was    only   on 

the   excellent  A 's  account.  .  .  .     Joachim  played 

your  concerto  splendidly.*  We  had  not  heard  it,  you 
know  (except  at  Salzburg),  since  the  first  time,  and 
were  completely  enchanted  with  and  carried  away  by 
it.  It  made  us  feel  we  had  you  actually  with  us  after 
you  had  left.  Now,  as  each  day  brings  us  nearer 
the  nth,  we  look  forward  more  and  more  to  your 
return.  The  Engelmanns,  who  had  been  insisting 
they  must  leave  on  the  loth,  have  of  course  decided  to 
stay,  and  are  as  delighted  as  we  are  ;  so  I  hope  you 
will  not  regret  giving  the  Leipzigers  a  hearing  of  your 
dear,  beautiful  music.  The  overtures  torment  me 
in  my  bad  nights.  I  can't  quite  get  hold  of  the 
F  major  theme  in  the  '  Festal,'t  and  am  simply  longing 
for  the  promised  pianoforte  scores.  And  don't  forget 
the  melodische  Ubungsstiicke  I 

Our  concertt  on  Sunday  went  off  so  well  that  we  can 
hardly  console  ourselves  for  not  having  had  you  there. 
You  would  so  have  enjoyed  Schauet  dock  und  sehet.^ 
It  was  one  of  our  good  days,  when  every  singer  is 
carried  outside  himself  in  response  to  something  which 
cannot  be  dismissed  with  the  mere  word  *  inspiration.' 
Each  one  has  strength  for  three  at  such  moments,  and 
we  really  produce  something  very  creditable,  feeble 
little  handful  as  we  are !  I  am  always  so  glad  for 
Heinz,  dear  fellow  !  He  so  often  has  a  wretched  time 
drumming  every  difficult  interval  into  their  heads. 

Good-bye  now.     Don't  stop  liking  us,  and  let  me 

*  Joachim  had  played  the  violin  concerto  at  the  Gewandhaus, 
this  being  the  third  performance  at  Leipzig  within  the  year. 

+  Academische  Festouvertilre,  p.  9  of  full  score,  beginning  at  the 
ninth  bar. 

%  One  of  the  Bach-Verein  concerts. 

§  Cantata  by  Bach. 

8 


114  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

assure  you  of  what  you  know  already,  that  we  like 

you  more  than  a  little. — Your 

Herzogenberge. 

Joachim's  variations*  are  so  pleasing  and  nice  ;  they 
were  very  well  received. 


78.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  December  24,  1880.] 

I  am  sending  you  some  Handel  duets, f  and  shall 

be  glad  if  you  will  look  over  the  piano  embellishments^ 

carefully,  and  still  more  the  German  words.     There 

are  also  some  melodious  finger  exercises  which  are  only 

too   obviously   influenced    by   my   tender    admiration 

of  the  smiling  Professorin's§  delicate  hands  and  fingers. 

I  shall  want  to  have  a  chat  about  everything  when 

I  come.     Meanwhile  keep   it  all  under  lock  and  key. 

With  best  wishes  for  Christmas,  yours, 

J.Br. 

79.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  December  28,  1880. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — What  a  very  great  pleasure 
to  have  your  overture||  drop  from  the  skies  half  an 
hour  before  we  lit  our  Christmas-tree.  My  maid 
brought  it  in,  all  unsuspecting,  and  I,  spying  the  Roder 
stamp,  at  once  surmised  the  whole  truth.     I  carried 

*  Joachim  had  played  his  own  variations  for  violin  and  orchestra 
from  manuscript  at  the  same  concert  as  the  Brahms  violin  concerto. 

t  Brahms  was  adapting  some  of  Handel's  chamber  duos  for  the 
Peters  edition. 

X  The  elaborate  contrapuntal  movement  which  Brahms  had  evolved 
from  the  figured  Basso  conUnuo. 

§  Frau  Emma  Engelmann. 

II  The  Academische  Fesiouvertiire,  Op.  80. 


THE  'ACADEMIC  OVERTURE  115 

the  roll  to  Heinz   so  as   not   to   spoil   my   own   fun, 
and   he  propped   it   up   with   due   solemnity,*  where 
it  outshone  all  the  other  nice  things,  and  rejoiced  my 
heart  more  than  I  can  say.     Next  day  we  went  to  the 
Engelmanns',  first  thing,  with  our  treasured  roll,  and 
there  we  played  and   played  the  dear  overture,  and 
four  happy  people  put  their  heads  together  and  said 
what  they  never  can  say  to  your  face.     If  you  had 
seen  our  expressive   smiles,  you  would   really  have 
been   a  wee  bit   pleased ;   for  although    it   may  have 
a  noisier  reception  at  Breslauf  shortly,  no  one  there 
will  hear  and  drink  in  every  fine  touch,  every  glorious 
change  in  the  harmony,  more  gratefully  than  the  said 
four  people.     Only  now  have  I   really  made  friends 
with  the  overture.     I  am  the  dullest  of  mortals,  and  the 
form  bothered  me  at  first  with  its  long  Introduction  ;t 
also  I  found  it  difiicult,  with  all  those  different  themes, 
to  sort  out  everything  in  due  order.     Now  that  I  have 
grasped  it,  I  quite  love  it ;  and  when  we  hear  it  in 
January,  hear  you  conduct  it  for  us  after  having  had  it 
in  our  heads  so  long  that  we  nearly  forget  how  recent 
an  acquisition  it  is,  then  it  will  be  a  real  Festal  Overture 
for  us,  too.     It  was  too  good  of  you  to  remember  the 

*  Christmas  presents  in  Germany  are  spread  out  in  separate  piles, 
usually  on  separate  tables,  one  for  each  member  of  the  family.  The 
time  of  presentation  is  the  afternoon  or  evening  of  Christmas  Eve  ; 
it  takes  place  in  a  room  set  apart  for  the  occasion,  of  which  the 
chief  adornment  is  a  lighted  Christmas-tree.  A  hymn  is  often  sung 
by  way  of  preliminary,  and  the  whole  ceremony  of  entering  the  room 
and  examining  the  presents  is  attended  with  much  solemnity. — Tr. 

t  The  Academische  Festouveriiire  had  been  written  in  recognition 
of  the  honorary  doctor's  degree  conferred  on  Brahms  by  the  philo- 
sophical faculty  of  Breslau  University.  He  conducted  the  first  per- 
formance of  this  overture  and  its  twin,  the  Tragischc,  on  January  4, 
at  the  Breslau  Orchestral  Society. 

X  Pp.  5-17  of  full  score. 

8—2 


ii6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

melodious  finger  exercises,  and  the  duets  too,  you 
dear  man  !  Now  there  is  only  the  *  Tragic  '  one  left  to 
sigh  for.* 

And  now  I  am  requested  to  entreat  you  to  fix  the 
date  of  your  coming,  if  possible.     The  Engelmanns  are 
in  correspondence  with  various  friends  in  Amsterdam, 
who  are  coming  for  the  overture,  and  are  therefore 
entitled  to  an  interest  in  the  day.     So  do  please  make 
a  valiant  effort  to  fix  it.     The  poor  young  Rontgens, 
who  are  here  now,  will,  unfortunately,  have  to  leave 
before   it.      We    practise    together    most   vigorously. 
There  is  a  grand  Brahms  evening  the  day  after  to- 
morrow, when  Emma  will  play  the  A  major  quartet, 
Julius  Rontgen  the  quintet,  with  a  few  other  trifles 
thrown  in.     Amanda,  Julius's  wife,  is  to  play  the  violin 
concerto  by  heart,  just  by  way  of  an  encore,  when  the 
family  has  already  been  playing  three  hours !     Oh  yes, 
we   all   have   tough   digestions !      Engelmann   suffers 
worse  than  ever  from  his  head.     Half  his  life  is  spent 
in  dull  pain,  yet  he  never  breathes  a  complaint,  and 
has  only  to  look  at  his  little  wife  to  break  out  in  smiles. 
It  really  does  me  good  to  see  him  so  cheerful  and 
resigned.      There    is    something   to    be   said    for   my 
own  dear,  too,  however.      The  way  he  distinguished 
himself  at  Christmas !      I   only  wish  you  would  get 
married,  just  to  have  an   idea  how  good  a  husband 
can  be  ! 

Excuse  this  disjointed  epistle.  The  overture  has 
gone  to  our  heads,  and  also  Ferdinand  Raimund's 
works,  one  of  my  Christmas  presents.  Now  I  read 
Diamant  des  Geisterkonigs  when  I  can't  sleep  at  night, 
and  am  quite  happy.  .  .  . 

But  it  is  very  consoling  that,  although  there  is  little 
*  Tragische  Ouverture,  Op.  8i. 


AUTOGRAPH  ALBUMS  117 

enough  of  the  true  and  the  beautiful  in  this  world,  that 

little  is  so  abundantly  satisfying  as  to  compensate  for 

everything. 

Last  of  all,  let  me  thank  you  once  more.     When  it  is 

done   in   writing,   at   least   I   don't  see  you  wriggle ! 

Let  us  know  soon  when  we  may  have  the  pleasure  of 

preparing  for  your  visit. — Your 

Herzogenbergs. 


80.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig,  January,  188 1.] 
My  dear  Friend, — It  is  my  fate,  the  moment  you  are 
gone,  to  plague  you  again  to  the  tune  of  Wann  hort 
der  Himmel  aiif  zu  strafen.*  Fraulein  Zimmermann,t 
who  asked  you,  through  me,  for  an  autograph  to  give 
to  Miss  Mackenzie,  your  English  interpreter,  has  just 
alarmed  me  by  asking  if  you  left  it,  after  all.  I  certainly 
told  you  about  it,  but  did  not  remind  you  again,  and 
what  good  is  the  one  without  the  other  ?  So,  as  it  is  my 
fault,  let  me  pay  the  penalty  of  boring  you.  Please  don't 
forget.  Fraulein  Mackenzie  appears  to  have  begged 
hard  for  it,  and  Fraulein  Zimmermann,  who  first  learnt 
to  love  your  music  through  Miss  Mackenzie,  is  anxious 
to  show  her  gratitude  by  fulfilling  this  wish  of  hers. 

Dear  Herr  Brahms,  it  is  very  quiet  at  the  Herzo- 
genbergs' now.  We  miss  you  very  much,  though  it 
is  something  to  have  the  memory  of  that  good  time. 

*  Brahms  had  written  a  canon  on  Uhland's  lines 

*  Wann  hort  der  Himmel  auf  zu  strafen 
Mil  Albums  und  mit  Autographen  ?' 

(When  will  this  rain  of  albums  cease, 
And  autograph -hunters  give  us  peace  ?) 

and  had  given  it  to  Naumann  for  his  '  Illustrated  History  of  Music' 
f  Agnes  Zimmermann  (b.  1845),  pianist  and  composer. 


ii8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

You  must  come  again  often  !  You  brought  a  glow  into 
our  hearts  again  with  your  music  and  your  friendship ; 
and  although  this  kind  of  joy  is  enduring  and  helps  us 
through  the  hard  times,  repetition  is  as  necessary  to 
the  ordinary  mortal  as  to  the  musician,  so  give  us 
this  good  old-fashioned  sign  before  long: 


M: 


Rubinstein  and  his  symphony  have  fallen  through, 
and  *I  canna  tell  what  has  come  ower  me  that  I  am 
not  weary  and  wae  !'*  .  .  . 

...  I  have  one  more  message  to  give  you.  My  two 
maids  came  rushing  up  in  great  excitement  after  you 
left,  gasping  out  inarticulate  gratitude  mixed  with  all 
sorts  of  other  feelings  towards  Herr  Brahms,  and 
begging  me  to  render  you  an  intelligible  account  of 
their  unintelligible  thanks.  Johannes  Brahms,  you 
have  obviously  been  guilty  of  something  which  must 
not  occur  again,  unless  you  wish  to  be  counted  among 
the  musicians  who  spend  their  thousand  gulden  on 
china,  and  still  more  on  satin  knickerbockers!! 
Seriously,  I  was  rather  furious  when  my  two  maidens 
confided  in  me,  and  must  presume  on  our  old  friend- 
ship to  scold  you  a  little  ! 

Good-bye  now.  Herr  Chrysander's  New  Year's 
wish  was  that  you  might  experience  *  that  continuity 
in  production  without  which  there  is  no  true  satisfac- 
tion ' ;  my  wish  is  that  we  may  experience  the  con- 
tinuity of  your  friendship,  without  which  there  is  no 
longer  any  real  happiness  for  your  most  faithful 

Heinrich  and  L.  Herzogenberg. 

*  First  two  lines  of  Heine's  Lorelcy. 

t  An  allusion  to  Wagner's  weakness  for  satin, 


THE  PUZZLE  CANON  119 

81.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  February,  1881.] 

Dear  Friend, — Forgive  the  delay  in  sending  the 
enclosed,*  and  its  shabbiness  now  that  it  comes,  but  I 
really  had,  and  have,  no  time.  Otherwise  I  should  like 
to  tell  you  of  my  travels!  and  a  few  other  pleasing 
matters.  But  I  must  content  myself  with  saying  that 
the  days  in  Leipzig  were  delightful,  and  that  I  shall 
come  and  put  up  with  everything  there  gladly  and  often 
— as  long  as  you  are  there  ! 

About  the  enclosed  canon  -.%  you  know  that  soprano, 
tenor^  alto,  and  bass,  come  in  each  four  bars  behind  the 
other.  It  finishes  when  the  soprano  comes  to  ^  in  the 
repetition,  two  notes  lower  of  course. 

Please  send  it  to  Miss  Mac — Farren  or  Ziegen.§ 
Should  you  be  tempted  to  give  it  to  Fritzsch  (?),  I 
wish  it  signed  J.  B.,  with  the  further  inscription 
'From  a  Leipzig  album'!!!  But  I  must  write  the 
solution  over  it,  or  it  would  look  too  mad  for  any- 
thing. 

Be  pleased  to  read  between  the  lines  at  this  point 
my  kindest  remembrances  and  thanks. — Yours, 

J.  Brahms. 

*  The  desired  autograph  for  Miss  Mackenzie. 

f  Brahms  had  been  at  Breslau  from  January  ist  to  7th,  at  Leipzig 
on  the  13th,  at  Miinster  on  the  22nd,  at  Krefeld  on  the  25th,  at 
Amsterdam  on  the  31st,  and  in  February  at  The  Hague  and  at  Haarlem. 

%  The  autograph  took  the  form  of  a  four-part  canonic  puzzle, 
which  was  published,  according  to  Brahms's  suggestion,  in  No.  18  of 
the  Musikalischcs  WochcnbJatt,  April  28,  1881.  The  riddle  was  solved 
the  very  next  day  by  F.  Bohme,  and  his  solution  was  printed  by 
Fritzsch  on  August  4,  1881.  It  is  not  commonly  known  to  this  day 
that  Brahms  was  the  composer. 

§  A  joke  on  the  name,  Farren  and  Ziqgen  standing  for  bulls  aqcj 
gQ^ts  respectively. — Tr, 


120  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

82.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  February  24,  1881.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  have  profited  considerably  by 
Mrs.  Macfarren.  The  canon,  which  I  have  copied  out 
neatly  in  full  score,  is  most  piquant  with  its  en- 
harmonics.  I  am  looking  forward  to  hearing  it 
properly  sung,  but  that  has  not  been  possible  up  to 
now,  as  our  friend  has  first  to  solve  it.  Why  did  you 
tell  me  the  tenor  had  to  begin  ?  That  made  it  so  much 
easier. 

Fritzsch,  honest  fellow !  was  quite  gleeful  at  the 
prospect  of  printing  something  '  from  a  Leipzig  album,' 
so  please  let  him  have  the  key. 

Thank  you  for  your  nice  letter,  short  though  it  was. 
We  are  much  aff'ected  to  hear  that  you  will  come  and 
put  up  with  everything  here  gladly  and  often ;  it  says 
more  to  us  than  we  could  trust  ourselves  to  put  into 
words.  Every  time  we  hear  how  you  fare  elsewhere, 
we  feel  sad  and  ashamed  and  envious. 

By  way  of  rewarding  you  for  past  favours,  may  I 
now  entreat  a  few  more,  already  promised  ?     You  know 

the  N s  have  very  little  music,  and  you  said  you 

would  go  to  your  store-room  and  produce  some- 
thing for  these  good  people,  who  are  devoted  to 
you.  You  said  I  was  to  remind  you,  which  I  now  do. 
You  could  stow  away  with  them  anything  you  have  to 
spare,  for  every  thing  is  welcome,  and  everything  coveted, 
even  duet  editions  of  the  Requiem  and  such.  Most  of 
all  do  they  hanker  after  the  F  minor  quintet,  arranged 
for  two  pianos.  If  you  should  have  that  to  spare, 
great  would  be  the  rejoicing.  You  also  mentioned  a 
few  more  canons,  which  we   should   be  delighted  to 


THE  BACH  VEREIN  121 

have.  (If  you  think  me  too  fond  of  'jogging'  your 
memory,  please  consider  that  you  solemnly  authorized 
me  to  make  all  these  reminders !)  We  had  our  second 
Bach  concert  on  the  19th,  and  heard  so  much  praise 
that  we  began  to  have  qualms  as  to  whether  it  really 
had  been  decent.  It  is  certain  that  no  one  here  under- 
stands what  we  do,  and  that  almost  frightens  us.  The 
chorus  and  orchestra  were  most  enthusiastic,  however; 
Hinke,  our  oboist,  played  Wir  zittern  mid  bebcn 
bewitchingly,  and  the  trumpet's  high  C  went  ringing 
through  the  church  in  ^ Es  erhvih  sich  ein  Streit'     Even 

the  D s  and  their  set  were  quiet,  so  much  did  they 

enjoy  it,  and  said  afterwards  they  would  like  to  hear  it 
all  over  again.  That  was  our  thirty-fifth  cantata,  and 
we  are  still  young  !  We  have  passed  the  nobility-test* 
by  three  already !  But  the  soloists  are  always  a 
trouble.  They  are  so  imbued  with  their  soloism  that 
they  can't  be  quiet  and  impersonal.  Then  the  musical 
side  is  often  so  undeveloped.  .  .  .  There  is  so  much 
vanity  and  vexation  of  spirit  here  below,  and  so  little 
pure  happiness,  that  when  I  think  of  myself,  and  the 
full  measure  meted  out  to  me,  I  am  full  of  shame.  For 
what  has  one  done  to  deserve  it? 

Dear  Friend,  I  know  you  have  no  time,  and  are  wish- 
ing I  would  stop.  I  really  will,  but  not  without  telling 
you  that,  whenever  we  two  sum  up  all  the  love  and 
beauty  in  our  lives,  we  never  forget  to  remind  our- 
selves that  we  have  you,  and  can  rejoice  both  in  your 
music  and  in  your  affection  for  us. 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

*  I.c.f  thirty-two  quartcrings. — Tr. 


122  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

83.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  March  2,  188 1.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  am  sending  off  a  fair-sized 
bundle,  but  feel,  all  the  same,  that  I  boasted  too  much. 
There  are  no  duets  or  two-piano  arrangements,  un- 
fortunately. 1  am  really  flattering  myself  that  the 
greater  part  will  remain  with  you  !  At  least,  the  two 
better  copies   of  the    Requiems.      The   bad   English 

edition  is  for  Miss .     You  would  have  no  use  for 

the  scores  of  my  Requiem  and  Triumphlied?    Or  for 
songs  transposed  for  alto  ? 

The  bound  volumes  belonged  to  a  friend  who  used 
to  take  a  great  interest  in  my  music.  She  no  longer 
does  so  ;  hears  a  better  sort — in  higher  spheres. 

The  canons  would  only  have  been  lost  in  all  that 
pack.  How  can  anyone  who  has  done  thirty-five 
cantatas  take  an  interest  in  such  things  ? 

I  don't  think  I  even  know  so  many.  .  .  .  Why  did 
you  stop  when  you  had  only  reached  the  eighth  page? 
No  flattery,  but  when  you  have  such  beautiful  note- 
paper  it  must  be  as  entrancing  to  write  on  as  it  is 
to  read  ! 

But  my  maestro*  is  coming,  and  instead  of  writing 
I  have  been  hunting  up  this  music,  which  please  put 
down  to  my  credit. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.Br. 

84.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  March  6,  1881. 

You  kind  person !  That  was  a  regular  Christmas 
hamper!     My  dear  N s,  whom  I  dashed  round  to 

■'*•  Brahms  was  studying  Italian  with  a  viQW  to  travelling  in  Italy, 


A  GIFT  OF  MUSIC  123 

see  yesterday  through  a  blinding  snowstorm,  a  nice 
big  parcel  under  my  arm,  did  not  know  what  to  think 
at  first,  and  were  as  delighted  as  children.  Up  to  now 
they  have  practically  lived  on  attacks  made  on  our 
music  cupboards,  and  certain  things — as,  for  instance, 
your  G  minor  quartet — would  disappear  for  six  months 
at  a  time.  And  now — they  have  come  into  their  fortune, 
and  we  shall  no  longer  miss  our  music.  So  you  see 
we  profit,  too,  by  what  we  surrendered  to  them,  and 
have  kept  back  various  things,  since  you  permitted  it : 
the  sextets  in  duet  form,  Rinaldo  and  the  serenades, 
in  return  for  which  we  made  over  the  D  major,  which 
we  had,  to  our  friends.  We  rang  in  Sunday  after  our 
own  fashion  to-day  by  playing  over  the  A  major  with 
the  deepest  delight.  We  had  not  looked  at  it  for  some 
time,  and  were  quite  sentimental  over  meeting  the 
dear  familiar  thing  again. 

The  friend  who  now  enjoys  the  concerts  of  the 
higher  spheres  was  evidently  full  of  love  for  these 
treasures,  and  I  am  therefore  not  sorry  that  they 
should  pass  from  your  indifferent  hands  into  our  not 
unloving  care. 

Is  it  really  no  oversight  that  the  Mozart  and  Cheru- 
bini  Requiems  were  included  ?  Glad  as  we  should  be 
to  have  the  scores,  we  have  not  quite  the  courage  to 
appropriate  them  until  you  write  and  say : 

'  Sei  gutcn  Miits,  O  Heinrich  mein, 
Nimm  diese  Bretzen,  sie  sei  Dein.' 

And  now  let  me  thank  you  once  more,  you  dear 

Friend,  in  the  N s'  name  (they  will  be  writing  on 

their  own  account),  and  in  our  own.  It  was  really 
particularly  nice  of  you  to  take  all  this  trouble  and 
display  such  generosity. 


124  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

To-morrow  we  have  an  amusement  in  prospect.  We 
are  going  to  Halle  to  hear  Billow  conduct  one  of  his 
Beethoven  concerts.  Heinz  is  bent  on  having  a  look 
at  the  show  just  once,  and  I  am  curious  too,  though  it 
can  hardly  be  less  impossible  than  his  piano-playing. 

Good-bye,  dear  Friend,  and  do  send  us  the  canons 
all  the  same.  We  can  still  condescend  to  make  room 
for  such  trifles.  Our  *  Miss '  thanks  you  for  the 
Requiem.     She  received  the  German  edition  after  all, 

as  the  N s  had  it.     She  scorns  the  English  one! — 

As  ever,  ^    Herzogenberg. 

85.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  March  27,  1881. 

My  dear  Friend, — You  delighted  us  very  much  with 
your  portrait,  in  which  we  recognize  the  real  you,  and 
appreciate  the  good,  happy  expression  which  photo- 
graphers so  seldom  catch.  It  is  almost  tragic  to  be 
writing  to  Siena.*  Every  attempt  at  communication 
seems  paralyzed  when  one  realizes  so  vividly  how 
safely  out  of  reach  you  are.  How  can  it  interest  you 
to  know  what  we  are  doing  here  under  our  heavy 
leaden  skies?  I  am  really  touched  that  you  should 
desire  a  letter  at  Siena.  Indeed,  I  am  only  writing 
to  thank  you  for  the  good  Brahms  on  the  little  easel 
(which  is  always  falling  over),  next  to  the  big  divan  on 
which  you  were  sometimes  pleased  to  rest  after  the 

*  Brahms  went  to  Italy  on  March  15.  His  second  Italian  tour  was 
longer  and  more  extended  than  the  first.  Theodor  Billroth  and 
Professor  Adolf  Exner  travelled  with  him,  but  left  him  behind  in 
Rome,  where  he  wished  to  spend  more  time.  The  route  lay  through 
Venice,  Florence,  Siena,  Orvieto,  Rome,  and  Naples,  to  Sicily,  return- 
ing by  Florence  and  Pisa.  Brahms  returned  to  Vienna  on  May  7,  his 
forty-eighth  birthday. 


CONDITIONS  AT  LEIPZIG  125 

enormous  fatigues  of  Leipzig's  festivities  in  your 
honour !  Heavens  !  what  a  sorry  figure  Leipzig  must 
cut,  v^hen  you  take  your  retrospective  bird's-eye  view 
of  the  winter  tours,  beside  the  gay  Rhenish  towns,  and 
warm-hearted  Holland,  where  you  passed  like  a  hero 
from  triumph  to  triumph  !  It  always  makes  me  envious 
to  read  Frau  Emma's  reports  from  Amsterdam  and 
Utrecht. 

We  are  always  having  fresh  trouble  and  disappoint- 
ments here.  For  one  thing.  Rust*  is  having  the 
G  minor  fugue,  arranged  for  orchestra,  played  at  St. 
Thomas's  on  Palm  Sunday.  He  has  also  set  some  Choral 
Vorspiele  for  four  voices,  with  an  appropriate  text,  and 
he  is  your  nominee !  We  have  further  endured  a 
thoroughly  bad  performance  of  the  second  part  of 
Faust.]  Heinrich  sang  in  the  chorus !  He  wanted 
to  look  into  it  closely ;  and  I  went  too,  but  only  for  one 
rehearsal.  I  could  not  stand  their  slovenly  ways,  and 
promptly  excused  myself  It  was  tragic  to  hear  them 
scramble  through  the  ninth  symphony,  too.  Such 
occasions  always  make  us  wish  we  could  see  and  hear 
you  conduct  these  things — with  your  swinging  beat, 
which  means  so  much;  your  expressive  arm-move- 
ments, which  always  respond  to  an  impulse  from 
within,  and  are  not  merely  designed  to  extract  certain 
results  from  others ;  your  natural  oneness  with  the 
music,  which  excludes  any  paltry  nervousness,  as  it 
does  deliberately  planned  effects. 

Oh,  that  Halle  concert t  was  really  charming!     But 

*  Wilhelm  Rust  (1822- 1892),  organist  and  cantor  at  St.  Thomas's. 

t  Schumann's  setting. 

X  Billow's  Beethoven  performance  icf.  Letter  84).  The  writer  saw 
fit  to  correct  her  harsh  judgment  of  Biilow  later.  Biilow  only  posed 
as  a  witty  interpreter  aiming  at  special  effects — in  his  piano-playing 
as  in  his  conducting — until  he  was  sure  of  himself,  his  orchestra,  and 


126  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

one  dared  say  nothing.  Everybody  lay  prostrate  before 
this  anointed  one,  who  bore  himself  like  a  priest  ele- 
vating the  Host  in  the  glittering  monstrance  for  the 
first  time.  At  times  he  seemed  to  be  giving  a  repulsive 
anatomy  lecture.  It  was  as  if  he  were  making  the 
experiment  of  stripping  an  antique  statue  of  its  lovely 
flesh,  and  forcing  one  to  worship  the  workings  of  bone 
and  muscle.  It  is  pleasant  enough  to  realize  the  spring 
that  works  the  machinery,  but  it  ceases  to  be  pleasant 
when  it  is  laid  bare  and  pointed  out  in  the  coarsest 
fashion.  Bulow's  affected  little  pauses  before  every 
new  phrase,  every  notable  change  in  harmony,  are 
quite  unpardonable.  In  the  last  movement  of  the 
A  major  he  even  introduced  full  stops  here,  there,  and 
wherever  he  saw  fit ;  every  bar  had  its  own  particular 
shading.  The  Coriolan  overture  was  played  with  a 
slowness  without  precedent,  even  where  the  climax 
comes;  the  exciting 'cello  part  sounded  strange  enough 
in  such  tempo.  In  short,  the  whole  performance  was 
designed  to  show  himself  \n  Beethoven's  mantle.  When 
he  turned  round  in  his  inimitable  way  to  take  stock  of 
the  audience — needless  to  say  he  conducted  everything 
without  a  score — I  couldn't  help  thinking  of  someone 
else,  who  once  said  to  us  before  a  Gewandhaus  con- 
cert :  *  If  only  I  don't  forget  I  am  at  a  concert  this 
evening,  and  stop  the  orchestra,  as  1  easily  might, 
without  thinking  !' 

By  the  way,  we  had  your  friend  Th.  here.  He  is  a 
quiet  Hamburger,  but  no  *  stick ' ;  for  when  Kirchner 
began   to   abuse — (much   to   my   alarm),  Th.  laughed 

his  audience.  His  extravagances  were  to  him  a  necessary  coercive 
measure.  Once  he  felt  himself  master  of  the  situation  and  at  home 
with  his  audience,  his  interpretation  lost  its  personal  character,  and 
became  a  simple  expression  of  the  music,  which  he  had  really  at  heart. 


SECOND  ITALIAN  TOUR 


127 


quite  gaily,  and  said  it  was  delightful  to  hear  anyone 
speak  his  mind  in  that  way.  Kirchner  has  written 
some  graceful  and  pretty — that  is,  really  appropriate — 
duets  :  a  perfect  shoal  of  them,  of  course !  He  is  as 
prolific  as  a  rabbit,  and  really  produces  nothing  but 
these  tricky  little  wrigglers.  Yet  all  his  things  are 
so  graceful,  and  so  exquisitely  musical,  compared  with 
all  the  amateurish  trash  one  sees,  that  one  cannot  but 
welcome  them. 

But  I  have  let  off  steam  enough  for  one  da}^  Let  me 
just  congratulate  you  on  having  really  set  foot  in  Italy. 
I  am  so  glad  I  know  Siena,  and  can  picture  your  delight 
when  you  come  upon  the  amphitheatre-like  market- 
place. If  you  should  come  in  for  the  races  there,  they 
are  said  to  be  most  exciting.  The  people  wear  their 
oldest  clothes,  and  the  decked-out  horses  tear  down 
the  enclosure  at  such  a  pace  that  there  is  invariably 
some  small  mishap.  The  winner  has  a  seat  at  table 
when  they  hold  their  feast,  and  has  its  nose  kissed  by 
the  women  who  backed  it.  If  you  have  a  chance,  you 
should  drive  through  San  Gimignano  to  Volterra. 
The  scenery  is  gloriously  wild  and  impressive,  and 
Volterra  is  quite  unique.  It  was  there  I  heard  a  small 
boy  sing  something  which  reminded  me  of  the  second 
movement  of  the  concerto.*     It  had  fascinating  words 


about  a  chamber  in  which  a  thousand  memories  lay 
buried.     The  marble  workers   spend  half  the   night, 

*  Brahms,  violin  concerto  : 
Oboe. 


etc. 


128  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

or  the  whole  of  it,  singing,  and  one  of  them  said  :  *  He 
is  unwise  who  sleeps  at  night ;  for  if  we  work  by  day, 
when  are  we  to  sing  ?  '  Ah,  how  beautiful  everything 
is  there ;  how  wasteful,  how  natural  and  inevitable  ! 
There  is  such  reckless  profusion  of  light  and  warmth 
and  unconscious  beauty  that  one  ends  by  accepting  it 
all  as  a  matter  of  course. 

I  can  think  of  you  in  the  midst  of  it  all  without  envy, 
for  you  deserve  it ;  but  I  do  begrudge  it  hideously  to 
some  who  go.  Take  care  of  yourself  in  Sicily,  for 
everyone  catches  cold  there.  Keep  it  well  aired,  our 
old  friend — the  dear,  brown,  no  longer  muddy  over- 
coat.* 

Well,  good-bye.  I  shall  not  write  again  for  a  long 
time,  which  accounts  for  the  disgraceful  length  of  this. 
You  are  travelling  with  Professor  Billroth,  are  you 
not  ?  How  nice  if  we  could  meet  him  some  day ! 
Why  does  he  never  come  to  a  premiere  at  the  Gewand- 
haus  ?  One  more,  thank  you  for  the  Requiems  which 
we  have  now  really  appropriated.  Kindest  regards 
from  the  Rontgens  and  '  Miss.' — Ever  your  devoted 

H  ERZOGENBERGS. 

86.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

Rome,  April,  1881. 

Dear  Friend, — I  am  just  back  from  Sicily,  and  must 
really  send  you  at  least  a  line  or  two.  My  steel  pent 
will  not  inspire  me  to  more,  and  it  is  impossible  on 
other  grounds.  Will  you  give  the  enclosed  to  Fritzsch  ? 

*  Brahms  was  always  reluctant  to  order  a  new  suit  of  clothes  on 
account  of  the  trouble  it  involved.  He  would  wear  the  same  things 
year  after  year,  and  much  resented  being  reminded  by  his  friends 
that  his  wardrobe  needed  replenishing. 

t  Brahms  used  quill  pens  which  he  trimmed  for  himself. 


SECOND  ITALIAN  TOUR  129 

The  solution  will  be  printed  later,  so  I  can  send  it  any 
time.*  No  need  to  say  how  much  I  am  enjoying  myself 
here.  I  hope  my  letters  are  being  published,  either 
by  Fritzsch  or  in  the  Taghlati  ? — and  I  should  be  sorry 
to  repeat  myself  If 

Many  thanks  for  writing  to  me  at  Siena  ;  I  shall  go 
there  again  on  the  way  back.  But  everything  is  so 
undecided — indeed,  I  prefer  it  so — that  I  cannot  ask 
you  to  write.  My  movements  depend  on  my  whim, 
the  weather,  and  various  attractions  that  may  offer. 

So  for  to-day  I   will  content  myself  with  settling 

Fritzsch's  affair,  while  asking  you  to  be  content  with 

the  assurance  that  I  often  think  of  you,  and  should  be 

only  too  glad  of  a  long  chat.     But  that  is  out  of  the 

question. — Yours  ever, 

J.Br. 

87.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Jena  beim  Paradies,|  July  3,  1881. 

Dear  Friend, — I  once  had  a  terrible  aunt,  who,  as 
she  came  out  of  a  splendid  picture-gallery,  exclaimed 
with  feeling :  '  All  very  fine  and  nice ;  but  it  is  of  far 
greater  importance  that  we  should  love  our  Saviour!' 
I  should  like  to  say  something  of  the  kind  to  you  in 
your  voluntary  hiding.  To  go  to  Italy  and  feast  your 
eyes  and  take  your  fill  of  enjoyment  is  all  very  fine 
and  nice  ;  but  to  remember  your  friends  just  occasion- 
ally is  of  importance  also.  Do  let  us  hear  something 
about  you,  particularly  your  present  whereabouts,  and 

*  A  fresh  copy  of  the  canon  (c/.  Letters  8i  and  82)  for  the  editor  of 
the  Mtisikalisches  Wochenblatt.   Brahms's  solution  was  never  pubHshcd. 

f  This  is  not  to  be  taken  literally.  He  not  only  sent  no  descriptions 
of  his  travels,  but  declined  to  have  letters  forwarded. 

%  An  old-fashioned  pleasure  resort  on  the  bank  of  the  Saale. 

9 


130  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

whether  there  is  any  chance  of  seeing  you  at  the  end 
of  the  summer,  for  that  is  the  only  time  left  at  our 
disposal.  We  have  had  such  strange  bad  luck  this 
year.  The  first  calamity  is  that  we  are  still  tied  here 
(I  literally,  on  my  back*),  where  I  had  the  indiscretion 
to  entrust  myself  to  a  doctor.  He  has  restored  my 
good  health  and  spirits,  I  admit,  but  only  after  two 
months.  The  second  is,  that  instead  of  going  to  a  dear 
little  cool  Alpine  place  to  convalesce,  as  one  would 
like,  or  to  a  nice  little  wood  near  by,  we  are  going  to — 
Venice,  musty  and  unattractive  as  it  is  just  now.  My 
poor  broken-down  mother  hopes  to  find  it  bearable 
there  for  the  summer.  She  has  no  courage  to  try 
any  place  farther  north  again,  with  her  bronchitis  and 
lung  trouble. 

It  is  hard  on  us,  but  we  remind  ourselves  that  one 
only  has  one  mother,  and  ought  to  be  willing  to 
sacrifice  something  for  her.  I  am  hoping  the  sea- 
bathing will  set  me  up.  I  don't  know  how  long  we 
shall  be  able  to  stay  there — possibly  only  a  fortnight. 
After  that  we  go  on  to  the  Ritten  above  Bozens,  to 
Heinrich's  relatives.  The  air  is  splendid,  and  will, 
we  hope,  compensate  us  for  the  canal  odours  our 
devotion  has  led  us  to  absorb.  We  shall  then  be  free 
for  a  short  space  in  September,  and  who  knows  if  we 
may  not  meet  you  somehow,  by  hook  or  by  crook  ? 
If  you  were  at  Portschach,  as  of  old,  we  should 
like  to  visit  you  there ;  but  I  fear  Ischl  will  claim 
you  again,  and  that  is  too  far  out  of  our  way. 
Or  will  your  September  movements  be  more  favour- 
able to  us?  That  would  be  delightful.  .  .  .  But 
do  send  a  sign  of  life  first  of  all,  for  I  am  so 
shut  up  here.  I  was  quite  alone  the  first  month, 
*  The  letter  is  written  in  pencil. 


CHRYSANDER'S  ARTICLE  131 

without  Heinz  even,  for  he  could  not  leave  Leipzig 
any  affection  from  outside  is  therefore  doubly  wel- 
come. Music  means  more  than  it  ever  did,  after  two 
months'  deprivation,  and  nothing  in  the  world  could 
give  me  more  pleasure  than  to  have  any  odd  scrap  of 
manuscript  paper,  that  somebody  had  no  particular 
use  for,  sent  me  in  a  letter.  I  really  think  anything 
new  of  yours,  if  it  were  only  a  few  bars,  would  set 
me  up  so  that  I  should  be  given  my  liberty  some  days 
sooner,  and  pronounced  cured.  You  are  sometimes 
moved  to  do  things  from  *  sheer  kindness  of  heart,'  as 
Herr  Chrysander*  once  discovered ;  there  were  one  or 
two  things  in  his  clever  little  article  which  delighted 
us  by  their  genuine  enthusiasm.  But  1  was  amused 
at  the  way  he  dragged  in  his  Handel,  and  the  Bach- 
worship,  which  seems  to  him  one-sided,  even  in  you. 
Handel  is  to  Chrysander  much  what  Wagner  is  to 
Fritzsch — a  Jack-in-the-box,  always  popping  up  un- 
expectedly. But  the  most  amusing  thing  of  all  was 
to  have  (in  a  recent  number  of  Fritzsch's  paper) 
Wagner  pop  up,  pressed  by  some  invisible  spring, 
in  a  discussion  on  the  Gregorian  chants,  if  you  please! 
The  point  was  that  his  reforms  were  founded  on  the 
choral!  Heavens!  what  idiocy  one  does  read  (or  as 
a  rule  does  not  read,  but  Jena  is  so  demoralizing !), 
and  how  brightly  an  article  like  Chrysander's  shines 
by  contrast !  It  says  so  much  for  it  that,  dear  as  is  the 
friend  under  discussion,  one  does  not  take  offence  at 
any  point. 

Do  you   know   anything   about    Frau   Schumann  ? 
I  only  know  she  is  going  to  Gastein.     My  last  com- 

*  Friedrich  Chrysander  (1826-1901)  edited  Handel,  and  wrote  his 
biography  in  the  AUgcmcinc  Musikalischc  Zeitung,  of  which  he  was 
editor.     The  article  referred  to  is  in  No.  22  of  vol.  xvi. 


n2 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


munication  with  her  had  to  do  with  some  of  Schumann's 
proof-sheets,  which  worried  me  considerably,  as  I 
knew  nothing  of  the  deliberately  differing  versions  of 
the  Davidsbundler.  How  do  you  play  the  passage  in 
the  last  number,  or  last  but  one  {Wie  aus  der  Ferne^ 
B  major)  ? 


Like  this,  or  with  E  natural  straight  away  ?  We  are 
told  to  play  it  with  E  now,  but  E  sharp  seems  to  me 
incomparably  better.  How  effectively  the  E  comes  in 
after  it !  In  Kirchner's  manuscript  it  is  different  again. 
There  is  no  E  sharp,  but  a  depressing  double  sharp 
before  the  F.  What  an  overwhelming  task  this  editing 
must  be !  Who  would  be  responsible  for  deciding  on 
a  particular  E  or  E  sharp  for  all  eternity  ? 

My  devoted  Heinz  sends  very  kindest  regards.  His 
room  is  over  mine — a  student's  den  like  this  one. 
Jena  is  a  friendly  little  place.  One  would  like  to  be 
here  with  an  opportunity  of  seeing  more  than  one's 
own  four  walls.  Heinrich  has  explored  all  the  moun- 
tains, and  is  in  ecstasies  over  the  positively  Alpine 
flora  here  and  the  peaceful  German  landscape. 

Give  you  greeting !  Send  us  a  line  before  we  leave, 
please.  I  shall  only  be  here  one  week  more  precisely. 
The  whole  Rontgen  family  is  in  Amsterdam  for  the 
christening.  That  dear,  happy  couple  !  Jena  in  Para- 
dise is,  as  you  see,  the  abode  of  yours  sincerely, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


VILLA  AT  PRESSBAUM  133 

88.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Pressbaum,  Jtily  5,  1881.] 

Are  you  not  going  to  send  me  a  line  one  of  these 
days  ?*  Where  are  you  now,  and  where  do  you  go 
next? 

You  really  are  too  careful  to  avoid  Austria  now  that 
I  am  there. 

I  am  spending  the  summer  at  Pressbaum,  near 
Vienna.  How  nice  it  would  be  if  you  came  to  visit 
your  friends  in  Vienna,  and  me  thrown  in  !  Your  wife 
has,  I  believe,  been  undergoing  treatment  from  Franz 
or  Voretzscht — or  possibly  a  regular  Kur?  Mean- 
while   do    please    let    me   have   a   line. — Yours   very 

sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

89.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Pressbaum,  July  7,  1881.] 

My  dear  Friend, — Just  a  hurried  note  to  thank  you 
for  your  most  kind  letter.  I  had  just  sent  off  a  shabby 
card,  being  lazier  than  you. 

I  can  understand  doing  anything  for  one's  mother, 
but  I  presume  you  asked  a  doctor's  permission  before 
arranging  to  go  to  Venice  at  this  time  of  year ! 

I  am  spending  the  summer  at  Pressbaum,  near 
Vienna.  My  little  villa  is  quite  charming,  and  I  often 
think  how  nicely  it  would  suit  you  two.  I  confused 
Halle  and  Jena  with  respect  to  you.  Don't  spoil  the 
effect  of  your  Kur  by  the  journey  to  Venice !  .  .  . 
I  should  like  to  send  you  something  worthier  than 
these    hurried    lines,    but    it    is    impossible    just    at 

*  The  letters  had  crossed.  f  Two  Halle  doctors. 


134  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

this  moment.  I  don't  mind  telling  you  that  I  have 
written  a  tiny,  tiny  piano  concerto*  with  a  tiny,  tiny 
wisp  of  a  scherzo.  It  is  in  B  flat,  and  I  have  reason 
to  fear  I  have  worked  this  udder,  which  has  always 
yielded  good  milk  before,  too  often  and  too  vigorously. 

Frau  Schumann  is  just  leaving  for  Gastein.  She 
expects  to  go  to  Italy  in  the  autumn. 

But  I  am  just  off  to  Vienna,  and  your  stay  'near' 

Paradise  is  also  at  an  end.    I  only  ask  to  be  kept  more 

or  less  posted  up,  and  should  like  to  be  able  to  look 

forward    to    Berchtesgaden. — With    kindest   regards, 

yours  most  sincerely, 

J.   Br. 

90.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Jena,  July  10,  1881. 

How  very  nice  of  you,  my  dear  good  Friend,  to  take 
up  your  pen  again  immediately  !  I  have  to  thank  you 
doubly,  since  you  had  such  good  news  to  send  of  a 
tiny,  tiny  piano  Konzerterl  with  a  tiny,  tiny  Scherzerl^\ 
and  in  B  flat — the  true  and  tried  B  flat !  That  is  some- 
thing to  look  forward  to  until  the  autumn,  '  something 
to  keep  jolly 'J  when  other  things  go  wrong — as,  for 
instance,  our  meeting,  which  seems  to  me  very 
problematical.  Think  a  minute !  Last  year  we  did  go 
to  Berchtesgaden,  but  this  year  it  is  really  too  far  out 
of  the  way.     Last  year  no  Brahms  came  to  see  us, 

■*  The  great  B  flat  concerto,  Op.  83,  in  four  movements.  Brahms 
sent  it  when  completed  to  his  friend  Bihroth  on  July  11,  with  the 
note  :  '  I  am  sending  you  some  small  piano  pieces.'  It  was  actually 
finished  on  July  7. 

f  Scherzerl  is  the  name  given  to  the  crusty  ends  of  a  long  roll  of 
bread  in  Vienna. 

X  Frau  Herzogenberg's  own  words  in  the  original. — Tr. 


THE  'TINY'  CONCERTO  135 

much  as  we  desired  it,  while  this  year  he  is  quite 
ready  to  go !  It  is  always  the  way :  Da  wo  du  nicht 
bist^  ist  das  Gluck*  You  know,  by  my  card,  that  I 
realized  the  impossibility  of  completing  my  Kur  in 
Venice  with  my  mother,  and  that,  having  discovered 
the  possibility  of  sea-bathing  until  September,  we 
decided  to  put  off  the  Venetian  journey  until  then. 
It  was  a  load  off  my  mind,  for  I  had  no  peace  for 
thinking  of  the  average  temperature  there  (22  degrees 
Reamur),  especially  as  I  always  have  to  lie  down  (in 
a  darkened  room)  when  it  is  23  degrees.  It  has  turned 
cooler  now,  and  the  very  thought  of  the  Tyrol  is  cool 
and  refreshing. 

Why  are  you  so  far  away  in  your  fine  villa,  you 
spoilt  person  ?  If  you  have  your  seven  beds  as  usual, 
you  might  really  invite  us,  you  know. 

%  %  %  %  % 

And  now  good-bye.  You  shall  hear  from  us,  and 
I  hope  some  kind  fate  may  bring  us  together.  Mean- 
while you  have  given  us  something — a  great  deal — in 
announcing  your  concerto. 

We  shall  certainly  be  another  six  days  here.  I  am 
still  a  prisoner,  and  can  only  detect  the  spring  (now 
past !)  through  casual  signs,  the  particular  one  being 
a  blackbird,  who  sings  every  day : 


and 


I   am   in   such   good   spirits   over   my  approaching 
release  that  it  makes  me  babble. — Yours,  as  ever, 

E.  H. 

*  From  Schubert's  song,  *  The  Wanderer.'— Tr. 
t  The  melody  of  Frcui  Euch  des  Lebens. 


136  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


91.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Graz,  October  i,  1881. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Late  as  we  are  in  knocking 
at  your  door,  we  hope  very  much  to  find  you  at  home. 
We  were  delayed  in  leaving  Venice,  after  a  month 
spent  there,  by  my  not  being  well,  and  have  had  to 
make  a  further  halt  here  for  the  same  reason.  We 
shall  arrive  in  our  old  Leipzig  a  whole  week  late,  like 
real  tramps ;  yet  we  cannot  resist  stopping  in  Vienna 
to  shake  hands  with  a  few  dear  friends.  It  is  difficult 
to  fit  in  everything,  as  we  can  only  stay  two  nights ; 
so  we  must  arrange  our  meetings  with  great  care,  if 
we  don't  want  to  miss  the  best.  If  you  are  still  at 
Pressbaum,  we  should  prefer  to  look  you  up  there,  as 
we  particularly  wish  to  see  you  in  your  beloved 
*  WaldeinsamkeiV  We  hope,  too,  that  our  thirsty  ears 
may  drink  in  a  tiny  something  which  we  can  take 
away  with  us,  and  feast  upon,  until  the  good  time  later 
on  when  you  come  with  it  yourself  But  who  knows 
whether  you  are  still  there  in  this  wintry  weather  ? 
I  am  writing  to  Karlsstrasse  for  safety.  Please  let  us 
have  a  friendly  word  in  reply  immediately,  and  should 
this  reach  you  later  than  to-morrow,  please  send  a 
telegram  telling  us  where  to  find  you.  We  shall  not 
stir  out  until  four  in  the  afternoon,  so  we  shall  probably 
be  here  to  receive  your  answer.  Anyway,  we  must 
see  our  dear  friend,  if  he  is  in  or  near  Vienna.  We 
should  like  best  to  come  early  on  the  6th  and  steal  one 
of  your  beautiful  mornings.  We  are  tied  until  eleven 
o'clock  on  the  5th  by  a  sister  who  is  passing  through, 
and  I  am  expected  to  lunch  at  my  friends  the 
Obersteiners',  in  Oberdobling.     We  have  placed  our- 


AT  HOME  137 

selves  at  Epstein's*  disposal  for  the  evening.  I  have 
not  seen  him  for  years,  and  owe  him  some  considera- 
tion. But,  as  I  said,  I  should  like  to  begin  the  day 
well,  and  with  you,  on  the  6th,  if  you  can  do  with  us. 
How  I  hope  you  are  still  there!  Otherwise  the 
measure  of  our  ill-luck  for  this  year  is  really  full.  The 
6th  is  called  Thursday,  and  we  are  called  Herzo- 
genberg,  and  are  staying  at  a  certain  Ruhberg,  to 
which  address  may  it  please  you  to  write.  We  are 
longing  to  see  you,  dear  Friend,  to  rifle  your  drawers 
and  to  revel  in  your  music  and  your  kindness. 

If  you  like  us  half  as  much  as  we  like  you,  you  too 
will  look  forward  just  a  little  to  seeing  your  sincerely 
devoted  Herzogenbergs. 

92.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  October,  1881.] 
Welcome  most  heartily  to  Vienna !  I  shall  certainly 
be  at  home  at  eleven  o'clock,  though  all  on  heaps.  But 
you  travel  like  royalties  positively,  only  more  so,  for 
one  cannot  even  stand  and  watch  your  arrival. — Your 
supremely  delighted  J.  Br. 

93.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  Humboldtstrasse, 

October  28-29,  1881. 

I  have  been  so  smothered  in  household  rubbish  and 
Leipzig  smuts  that  I  have  been  an  incredible  age 
thanking  you  for  all  your  kindness  in  Vienna.  The 
treasures  we  carried  away  with  us,  the  gratitude  which 
stirred  us  without  ceasing,  my  feelings  henceforward 
when  I  write  Karlsstrasse  4,  now  that   I  can  take  a 

♦  Her  old  master  (c/.  Letter  17,  note). 


138  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

personal,  interest  in  that  excellent  dwelling-place — all 
this  I  hope  you  are  better  able  to  imagine  than  I  to 
describe.  Above  all,  remember  that  we  (much  like 
you)  never  mean  more  than  when  we  jest  or  even  say 
nothing  at  all — as,  for  instance,  after  Ndnie.^  I  envy 
people  who  vibrate  eloquently  on  receiving  great  im- 
pressions. I  vibrate  m3^self.  Heaven  knows  ;  but  even 
a  dog  is  more  eloquent,  for  he  at  least  howls  at  the 
moon — which  I  choose  to  consider  a  sign  of  enthusiasm 
in  this  case,  to  bear  out  my  statement.  But  the  morti- 
fying reflection  inevitably  follows  :  how  eloquent  one 
becomes  as  soon  as  there  is  anything  to  criticize ! 
There  is  such  a  fine  choice  of  words  for  deliberate 
fault-finding,  yet  one  seeks  in  vain  for  the  right,  the 
comprehensive  word  to  relieve  one's  feelings  after 
moments  of  real  enjoyment.  But  what  a  poor  thing 
speech  is,  even  for  the  born  speaker !  Are  not  the 
few  expressions  we  have  to  describe  all  that  is  best 
and  finest  done  to  death  ?  Yet  one  would  so  like  to 
reserve  a  distinctive  word  for  every  individual  genius, 
just  as  one  would  like  to  have  a  dii  for  one's  husband  as 
distinct  from  the  du  of  one's  good  friends.  But  we 
must  make  the  best  of  what  we  have,  and  be  thankful 
when  the  very  one  to  whom  we  would  fain  say  some- 
thing— you,  for  instance — are  as  good  at  divining  as 
we  are  tongue-tied. 

We  have  had  an  eventful  week,  which  is  not  over 
yet.  The  last  Gewandhaus  concert  provided  a  re- 
markable   programme :     Hiller's    Demetrms,'\    Liszt's 

*  Brahms's  Ndnie  for  chorus  and  orchestra,  Op.  82,  dedicated  to 
the  memory  of  Feuerbach,  the  artist,  was  begun  in  1880,  the  year  of 
his  death.  Brahms  had  completed  it  during  the  summer,  and  played 
it  to  the  Herzogenbergs  in  Vienna. 

t  Overture  by  Ferdinand  Hiller  (1811-1885),  pianist,  composer, 
and  writer  on  music. 


JULIUS  RONTGEN  139 

Tasso*  and  our  dear  good  Julius,t  a  worldling  between 
two  entirely  discredited  prophets.  If  Hiller  pays  any 
more  visits  to  the  invisible  world  (you  heard  of  his 
latest  delicious  production,  in  which  Schumann  and 
Mendelssohn  tell  him  such  charming  home-truths? J), 
he  will  have  to  listen  to  some  nice  things  from  the 
blessed  Demetrius.  It  is  hard  to  say  which  is  worse  : 
the  decent  dulness  of  a  Hiller  or  the  indecent  dulness 
of  a  Liszt!  Both  are  intensely  exhausting.  Julius 
Rontgen,  with  his  piano  concerto,  proved  a  graceful 
and  agreeable  contrast,  refreshingly  musical.  You 
were  very  unmistakably  sponsor  to  the  composition — 
he  can  hardly  pretend  to  have  invented  it  all  himself — 
but,  dear  me,  we  can't  all  live  on  our  income !  Most 
people  borrow  somewhere,  and  when  it  is  from  the 
right  person  it  is  pretty  enough  to  listen  to,  par- 
ticularly when,  as  in  this  case,  one  feels  the  young 
pulse  of  a  genuine  musician  and  a  thoroughly  nice 
fellow  beating  through  it  all.  It  is  good  to  find  such 
a  warm,  unfailing  flow  of  sentiment,  even  though  it  be 
borrowed  sentiment,  and  the  audience  were  of  that 
opinion.  But  the  critics  put  on  their  wisest,  most 
annihilating  expression,  and  harped  in  a  superior 
way  on  the  lack  of  originality.  *  Under  the  ban  of 
Brahms  '  is  to  them  conclusive.  .  .  .  Mothers  are  to 
be  envied  indeed,  even  the  one,  mourner  though  she 
be,  to  whom  you  dedicate  the  dirge.§ 
To  us  this  piece  is  as  the  dearest  and  most  splendid 

*  Symphonic  poem  for  orchestra. 

t  Julius  Rontgen. 

%  Hiller  had  published  a  series  of  articles  in  the  Deutsche  Rundschau, 
called  Besuche  im  Jenscits,  which  he  afterwards  incorporated  in  his 
Erinnerungshldtter  (1884). 

§  Brahms  had  dedicated  Niinie  to  Frau  Hcnriette  Feuerbach,  the 
artist's  mother. 


I40  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

of  our  possessions — for  we  do  possess  it  in  part — 
though  we  wish  Abraham*  would  hurry  up,  or,  better 
still,  that  you  would,  so  that  we  can  soon  hear  it  again, 
and  many  times  over.  The  Rontgens  are  always 
asking  us  to  '  describe '  it,  and  the  concerto  toot;  but 
I  am  not  Ehlert,^  and  could  find  nothing  to  say  about 
them  that  did  not  sound  insipid.  Nothing  but  hearing 
them  can  be  of  any  use.  And  now  for  my  great 
request !  Please,  please,  please  send  me  the  piano 
score  of  the  orchestral  part  to  practise,  so  that  you  will 
not  have  to  suffer  so  much  when  you  play  it  with  me. 
I  am  sure  you  will ;  you  are  so  pious  and  good.  I 
know  Briill  §  has  played  it  with  you  (lucky  those  who 
were  present !)  and  it  may  be  lying  there  idle  at  this 
moment.  In  that  case  it  would  be  much  safer  here, 
where  its  only  danger  lies  in  being  torn  to  pieces 
through  excess  of  zeal.  When,  when  are  you  really 
coming  ?  Has  your  vacillation  come  to  an  end  ?  How 
long  shall  you  stay,  and  will  there  be  a  performance 
of  Ndnie  ?  The  Thomaner  are  not  equal  to  it  by  them- 
selves ;  you  must  have  the  Gewandhaus  chorus.  We 
were  thinking  it  would  be  suitable  for  the  New  Year's 
concert,  when  the  Thomaner  are  always  pressed  into 
service,  and  would  prove  a  useful  reinforcement. 
People  are  saying  you  will  be  here  in  a  week  or  ten 
days.     We  alone  have  no  information. 

*  Dr.  Max  Abraham,  head  of  the  firm  of  Peters  at  the  time.  N'dnie 
was  pubHshed  by  him  in  1881. 

t  The  two  new  compositions  which  Brahms  had  played  to  the 
Herzogenbergs  in  Vienna. 

%  Cf.  Letter  72. 

§  Ignaz  Briill  (b.  1846),  composer  and  pianist.  Brahms  much 
appreciated  his  quick  comprehension  and  clever,  musicianly  playing, 
and  often  asked  his  assistance  when  he  wished  to  introduce  any  of 
his  larger  compositions  to  his  intimate  friends  in  Vienna. 


BULOW'S  UNPOPULARITY  141 

Most  of  us  here  grudge  your  generosity  to  Biilow.* 
He  made  himself  very,  very  unpopular  last  year  by 
seizing  the  first  opportunity  of  abusing  the  Gewand- 
haus,  upon  which  the  orchestra  refused  to  play  the 
ninth  symphony  under  him  again. 

Heinrich  sends  messages.  If  you  only  knew  how  we 
two  look  forward  to  seeing  that  good  old  brown  over- 
coat !  Only  yesterday  (I  must  explain  that  a  whole 
section  of  Liszt's  Chrishts]  comes  between  the  beginning 
and  the  end  of  this  scrawl)  we  were  saying:  Really,  how 
can  such  contrasts  exist  side  by  side  ?  and  how  can  one 
person  conduct — to-day  a  certain  Requiem^  to-morrow 
this  Christus  ?  How  is  such  an  organism  to  be  classified  ? 
This  music  is  detestable,  and  will  *  sink  into  oblivion 
without  a  ripple.'t 

Good-bye,  good-bye,  giver  of  much  good !  We  look 
forward  to  seeing  you. — Your  devoted 

H  ERZOGENBERGE. 

94.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  November  2,  1881.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  am  taking  up  a  scrap  of  paper 
to  write,  not  a  letter,  but  a  slight  acknowledgment 
of  yours.  I  cannot  send  the  concerto,  as  it  is  already 
in  Simrock's  hands  (arranged  for  two  pianos,  by  the 
way).  I  am  coming  for  the  first  of  January,  but  there 
will  be  no  Ndnie.  The  Thomaner  are  not  available,  as 
Rust  very  lucidly  explains  in  a  lengthy  epistle.  It 
really  is  terrible,  the  things  they  expect  of  these 
youths ! 


*  See  note  to  Letter  95.  +  Oratorio. 

I  The  words  are  a  quotation  from  Nanie. 


142  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

It  was  charming  at  Meiningen,*  you  know.  We  did 
some  very  fine  and  very  enjoyable  music. 

But  a  poor  touring  concert-giver  like  myself  has  a 
lot  of  correspondence,  and  we  can  have  a  good  talk 
on  New  Year's  Eve.  If  you  think  Ndnie  could  be  done 
without  the  Thomaner,  please  speak  to  Limburger 
or  somebody  about  it  I  can't  write  myself — but  wait ! 
I  have  to  write  to  Limburger,  anyway,  so  I  will  just 
mention  it,  and  you  can  proceed  or  not  as  you  like. 

Addio,  and  forgive  this  slovenly  writing. — Yours, 

J.Br. 

95.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  November  14,  1881.] 

I  must  just  tell  you,  dear  Friend,  that  we  have 
had  Ndnie  here  for  one  day.  We  gave  up  a  stupid 
Sunday  to  her,  as  far  as  we  could  for  interruptions. 
Ndnie  is  now  my  best  friend.  I  am  always  playing 
it  in  imagination  as  well  as  I  can  remember  it,  and 
revel  in  the  syllables  which  scan  so  perfectly.  I  sing 
hymns  of  praise  to  the  hexameter  which  has  served 
you  so  well,  and  am  so  happy  in  the  added  wealth  with 
which  you  have  again  enriched  us.     Ndnie  is  one  of 

*  Biilow  had  surprised  Brahms  in  July,  1881,  with  a  very  cordial 
invitation  to  come  and  use  the  perfectly  drilled  Ducal  Orchestra  (he 
had  been  Hofmusikintendant  at  Meiningen  since  October,  1880)  to 
rehearse  any  novelties  he  might  have.  Brahms  replied  that  he  had 
only  the  piano  concerto,  which,  much  as  it  needed  rehearsing,  was 
hardly  suitable  for  Meiningen.  Biilow  insisted  to  the  contrary,  and 
Brahms  was  easily  persuaded.  He  went  to  Meiningen  in  the  middle 
of  October,  was  received  with  much  consideration,  and  returned  to 
play  his  concerto  on  November  27,  Biilow  conducted  on  this  occasion, 
and  the  result  was  an  ideal  rendering.  In  the  meantime  Brahms 
had  played  it  at  Buda-Pesth  on  the  9th,  and  Hungary  enjoys  the 
honour  of  having  secured  the  first  public  performance. 


'NANIE'  143 

those  things  of  which  you  cannot  merely  say  you  have 
heard  or  played  them,  but  rather  that  they  have  been 
an  experience.  But  I  am  so  glad  I  heard  you  play 
it  first  of  all  in  your  cosy  Karlsstrasse !  That  exquisite 
earliest  impression  will  always  remain,  side  by  side 
with  all  subsequent  hearings.  Even  if  they  do  not 
give  it  at  the  Gewandhaus,*  we  two  feel  that  we  have 
heard  it  and  know  something  about  it.  It  was  a  very 
great  help,  too,  to  have  a  copy  by  us,  and  play  it 
through  a  time  or  two.  How  vividly  it  stands  out 
in  my  memory,  each  part  for  itself  and  the  whole 
in  its  wonderful  unity !  One  is  loth  to  pick  and 
choose, — but  oh,  the  sweet  Aphrodite  part  in  F, 
the  bewitching  passage  at  the  splitting  of  the  Eber, 
the  splendid  seething  of  the  wave-triplets  in  F  sharp 
when  the  goddess  rises  from  the  sea,  the  syncopated 
weeping  of  the 'gods,  and  the  breathless  suspense  at  the 
words,  '  Dass  das  Schone  vergeht^  where  it  dies  away  ! 
One  would  like  to  mention  everything,  but  above  all  the 
blissful  ending,  for  which  you  deserve  every  blessing ! 
How  thrilling  are  the  different  voice  entries,  and  how 
splendidly  it  works  up  and  lingers  on  the  dominant — 


2fc:=gi 


^- 


tep^ 


--^^t 


I 


"SP^S?^ 


-JOTi 


A 


-e'v 


IS 


J 


©»— J-T— S-T 


passing  with  the  more  refreshing  effect  into  D  major 

at  the  words,  *  im  Mund  der  Geliebten '  (I  have  written 

it  all  wrong,  of  course.     I  don't  know  this  particular 

*  The  Committee  decided  on  the  piano  concerto,  which  Brahms 
accordingly  played  on  January  ist. 


144  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

place  well,  but  you  know  what  I  mean,  and  agree, 
I  hope,  in  thinking  it  splendid).  That  F  in  the  basses 
is  a  triumph. 

Good-bye,  you  dear  man  !  We  are  as  proud  of  you 
as  if  it  were  our  fault  that  you  did  such  beautiful 
things  ! 

It  ought  to  rejoice  your  soul  that  you  are  able  to 

bring  happiness  to  so  many  in  this  weary  world,  though 

to  few  in  such  full  measure  as  to  your  devoted  and 

grateful 

Herzogenberge. 


96.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  November  14,  1881.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — It  is  only  because  you  spoke 
of  coming  to  Meiningen  for  one  or  other  of  the  concerts 
that  I  am  writing  to  say  that  the  works  of  yours  most 
humbly,  the  undersigned  master,  are  put  down  for  the 
27th  of  November  {a.m.  /). 

There  is  a  public  rehearsal  at  seven  o'clock  on  the 
evening  of  the  26th,  and  you  might  listen  privately  to  the 
Haydn  Variations^  etc.,  in  the  morning.  In  short,  you 
will  be  able  to  enjoy  a  regular  surfeit  of  the  works  of 
yours  etc.,  and  you  will  never  hear  the  things  so  well 
done  at  Leipzig. 

I  shall  be  at  the  Sachsischer  Hof  If  you  really  are 
coming,  please  write  and  engage  your  rooms  there  in 
good  time. 

N.B. — The  'Tragic,'  the  piano  concerto,  the  'Aca- 
demic,' and  the  C  minor  symphony,  are  put  down 
for  the  concert 

N.  B. — Rooms  only,  mind  !  Your  most  humble  servant 
will  see  to  the  tickets. 


THE  MEININGEN  ORCHESTRA         145 

It  really  is  worth  while,  particularly  if  you  take 
a  few  days  and  hear  some  of  the  rehearsals.  These 
fellows  play  quite  excellently,  and  they  have  no  concep- 
tion of  such  rehearsing,  such  practising,  at  Leipzig. 
You  have  no  idea  what  pleasure  it  would  give  yours 
etc.,  to  see  you  there. 

Kindest  regards  to  your  trio-composer,*  and  perhaps 

you  may  find  a  word  to  say  to  yours  etc., 

J.  Br. 

From  November  20th  to  22nd :  Stuttgart,  Hotel 
Marquardt. 

97.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  November,  1881. 

The  practice  of  self-denial  is  supposed  to  be  salutary, 
and  I  must  seek  comfort  in  that;  for  I  cannot  go  to 
Meiningen,  and  I  am  going  to  tell  you  frankly  why ! 
We  have  to  be  particularly  careful  over  what  we  spend 
just  now  at  the  end  of  the  year,  for  what  with  my  '  battle 
of  Jena'  and  the  dreadful  long  journey  to  my  mother  in 
Venice,  we  have  spent  such  a  lot  already. 

I  am  skimping  my  poor  people  and  must  skimp 
myself,  and  deny  myself  the  greatest,  the  best,  most 
beautiful  treat  I  could  ever  have.  I  need  not  assure 
you  at  great  length  how  hard  it  hits  me.  You  know 
me,  and  you  know  how  I  should  appreciate  hearing 
my  most-beloved  music  so  delicately  treated,  when  I 
usually  hear  it  done  in  a  rough,  slovenly  fashion. 
But,  as  I  said,  one  must  be  firm  with  oneself  on 
occasion,  when  reason  demands  it.  Heinrich  can't 
resist  it,  however ;  he  can  do  a  short  stay  cheaply,  as 

*  Herzogenberg. 

10 


146  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

he  is  only  one,  and  it  will  be  almost  half  as  good  as 
going,  to  hear  all  about  it  from  him,  and  to  think  of 
him  there.  But  I  do  claim  a  little  sympathy,  for  mine 
is  assuredly  no  small  sacrifice. 

But  let  me  thank  you  for  writing,  and  for  really 
caring,  as  it  seemed,  for  us  to  come.  That  is  dear  of 
you,  and  my  only  request  is  that  you  will  think  of  me 
a  wee  bit  in  the  particularly  beautiful  parts — for  instance, 
at  the  end  of  the  first  movement  of  the  C  minor,*  where 
those  yearning  chords  come  on  the  B  flat  minor  beats. 


Just  so  will  your  only  half-resigned  E.  H.  yearn  on 
the  27th. 

98.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  November  18,  1881.] 

Many  thanks  for  your  kind  letters.  What  must  be 
will  be!  But  I  should  think  twice  before  letting  my 
husband  go  off  alone.  You  could  make  up  for  it  by 
economy  somewhere — about  New  Year,  for  instance!! 

Kindest  regards  in  any  case  from  a  poor 

Traveller. 

99.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December  26,  1881.] 

I  wish  I  could  have  announced  my  arrival  at  the 
Palmbaum  or  at  your  house,  but  it  would  not  come  in 

*  The  C  minor  symphony.     See  full  score,  p.  25,  bars  13-15. 
•f  The  economy  to  be  practised  on  the  occasion  of  his  own  pro- 
posed visit  to  them. 


LEIPZIG  CRITICS  147 

time.  I  may  turn  up  before  this  post-card,  in  the  small- 
hours,  when  even  a  poet  has  turned  in — or  is  not  yet 
up.  Take  the  precaution  to  read  the  police  news 
these  days  anyway.  ...     I  may  have  been  charitably 

run  in ! — Your  poor 

J.Br. 

100.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  January  3,  1882. 
My  dear  Herr  Doktor,  —  Here  are  the  desired 
bird-notes.*  If  you  had  not  left  definite  orders,  I 
should  really  be  ashamed  to  send  you  such  discredit- 
able stuff,  although,  looked  at  in  a  humorous  light,  it 
has  its  charm.  Hanslick's  cordial  words  were  so  re- 
freshing after  it.  My  dear  father  sent  me  his  critique 
this  morning  as  the  '  best  New  Year's  greeting,'  and  I 
have  just  read  it  properly.  I  could  almost  envy  the 
man  his  power  of  expressing  himself,  if  not  exhaustively, 
yet  with  an  intuitive  sympathy,  which  not  only  pro- 
vides an  outlet  for  his  own  feelings  but  helps  others 
who  have  no  command  of  words  to  express  theirs.  I 
am  one  of  the  most  helpless,  and  my  Heinz  another. 
How  often  do  we  stand  dumb  and  miserable  before 
you,  seeking  comfort  in  the  thought  that  you  must 
know  whether  we  have  the  right  sounding-board  for 

♦  The  Leipzig  press  notices.  One  of  the  critics  was  named 
Bernhard  Vogel  (  =  Bird),  hence  perhaps  the  expression.  He  wrote 
for  the  Leifziger  Neuesten  Nachrichien,  and  is  the  author  of  a  mono- 
graph on  Brahms.  The  Musikalisches  Wochcnblatt,  edited  by  Fritzsch, 
which  had  championed  Brahms  warmly  from  the  first,  was  obhged 
to  admit  that  the  attitude  of  the  pubhc  towards  Brahms's  new  com- 
positions (he  had  played  his  concerto  and  the  two  rhapsodies, 
Op.  79,  on  New  Year's  Day)  was  rather  apathetic  than  encouraging. 
'  One  can  hardly  say,'  ran  the  notice,  *  that  the  Gewandhduskr 
showed  any  particular  appreciation  of  their  guest's  importance  in 
general,  or  of  his  new  work  in  particular.' 

10 — 2 


148  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

your  music  in  our  hearts,  and  the  right  reverence  for 
its  author.  But  it  does  seem  sometimes  as  if  you  were 
hardly  conscious  of  it,  as  if  it  wanted  putting  into 
words.  .  .  .  Your  clumsy  friends  have  their  worst 
moments  then. 

You  were  rather  harsh  with  Madame  de  Herzogen- 
berg  recently,  and  she  had  neither  sufficient  wit  nor 
nerve  to  hide  the  fact  that  she  was  hurt.  I  ought  to 
be  sorry,  but  it  is  my  weakness  to  imagine  that  you 
may  remember  the  incident  with  the  same  kind 
leniency  as  that  of  the  Ischl  dog,  who — more  sensitive 
than  myself — could  never  forget  that  blow,  while  I  am 
already  comforted  by  the  attitude  with  which  my  im- 
agination credits  you. 

Besides,  we  should  be  quite  too  badly  in  your  debt  if 
you  did  not  occasionally  need  forgiveness  yourself! 

God  bless  you  for  your  good  deeds,  and  may  you  be 
very,  very  happy  now  that  you  are  entirely  with  people 
who,  Hanseatic*  as  they  are,  know  how  to  appreciate 
you,  though  few  can  do  it  so  thoroughly  as  your 
ever-grateful  old  Herzogenbergs. 

10 1.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  March  ii,  1882. 

My  dear  Friend, — I  happened  to  take  up  your  letterf 
again,  and  find,  to  my  horror,  that  you  propose  to  come 
on  the  17th.    But  the  Brahms-concert|  is  next  Tuesday, 

*  Brahms  had  gone  to  Hamburg  from  Leipzig  to  play  his  new 
concerto  there  on  January  6. 

t  The  letter  is  missing. 

X  The  *  Brahms-concert '  was  the  second  of  three  concerts  given  at 
Leipzig  by  Biilow  with  the  Meininger  Kapelle.  On  this  occasion  he 
conducted  the  C  minor  symphony  and  the  orchestral  variations  on  a 
Haydn  theme,  and  played  the  pianoforte  concerto  in  D  minor. 


BULOW  AS  CONDUCTOR  149 

the  14th,  so  do,  for  Heaven's  sake,  be  here !     Bulow 

will  surely  have  set  you  right  in  the  meantime,  but 

I  will  send  off  these  lines  for  greater  safety. 

How  we  are  looking  forward  to  seeing  you ! — Your 

faithful 

Herzogenbergs. 

In  Billow's  Mendelssohn-Schumann  concert,  Schu- 
mann was  represented  by  the  Hermann  iind  Dorothea 
and  Messina  overtures,  and  the  Phantasie  for  violin — 
to  us  an  inexplicable  selection.* 


102.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  March  13,  1882.] 

Your  letter  is  a  welcome  intimation  that  B  .f  is  not 
counting  on  me,  or  he  would  certainly  have  notified 
me  of  the  change. 

If  he  had,  I  think  I  should  have  come  to  listen  to  all 
three  concerts,  taking  trips  to  Weimar  and  Jena  in 
between.     I  had  all  sorts  of  plans  ! — In  haste,  yours, 

J.  Br. 

103.  Elisabet  vo7t  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  March  15,  1882. 

My  VERY  DEAR  Friend, — I  must  losc  no  time  in  telling 
you  how  splendid  it  was  yesterday.  I  have  never 
heard  your  things  done  like  that  before.  The  onl}^ 
time  we  have  a  glimpse  of  their  real  effect  is  when  you 
conduct  a  first  performance ;  any  subsequent  perform- 
ances  are   listless,   mechanical   readings.      But   even 

*  Billow's  object  was  to  overcome  what  he  considered  to  be  an 
unwarranted  prejudice  against  the  works  of  Schumann's  latest  period. 
t  Biilow. 


I50  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

when  you  are  there,  what  can  you  get  out  of  such 
short  rehearsals  ?  This  time  there  was  beauty  of 
sound  to  satisfy  the  senses,  while  every  feature  was 
brought  out  with  due  effect.  Above  all,  there  was  a 
glow  of  genuine  enthusiasm  over  the  whole,  sufficiently 
infectious  to  cause  even  a  Gewandhaus  audience  to 
relax.  Do  you  know,  they  quite  lost  their  heads  at  the 
end  of  the  C  minor!  The  din  was  so  great  that  we 
had  to  ask  ourselves  if  that  were  really  the  Gewand- 
haus with  the  same  people  sitting  there.  The  fact  is, 
there  was  not  the  usual  preponderance  of  prim,  tiresome 
femininity,  barely  out  of  its  teens ;  but  fresh,  young, 
listening  faces  and  older  ones  who  cannot  get  into  the 
Gewandhaus  ordinarily  were  there,  all  under  a  spell 
that  deepened  with  every  number,  all  attention  from 
head  to  foot,  smiling  happily  at  this  or  that  point — in 
a  word,  so  charming  and  sympathetic  that  one  felt  like 
kissing  some  of  them.  As  the  Allegretto*  in  A  flat 
received  comparatively  little  applause,  Bulow  promptly 
repeated  it.  Then  came  the  deluge  I  Oh,  how  happy 
we  were  in  our  corner :  Ethel,t  we  three,  the  enthusi- 
astic Reuss,t  Bezold  and  the  Engelmanns,  the  Wachs,§ 
and  old  Frau  Holstein  !||  We  made  a  heathenish  noise, 
my  brotherIF  shouting  encore  at  the  finish  like  one 
possessed,  though  whether  he  wanted  the  whole 
symphony  or  only  the  last  movement  repeated  he 
refuses  to  say.  We  were  just  like  children,  and  all 
felt  we  had  come  into  our  own  at  last.     Billow  has 

*  The  third  movement  of  the  symphony. 

t  Miss  Ethel  Smyth. 

X  Heinrich  XXVI.,  Prince  of  Reuss-Kostritz  (b.  1855),  a  well-known 
composer,  pupil  of  Herzogenberg. 

§  Adolf  Wach  (b.  1843),  a  famous  jurist,  Mendelssohn's  son-in-law, 
had  been  Professor  at  Leipzig  University  since  1875. 

II  Hedwig  von  Holstein.  ^  Ernst  von  Stockhausen, 


BULOW  AS  PIANIST  151 

never  impressed  me  as  he  did  last  night.  The  accom- 
paniment to  the  D  minor  concerto  was  literally  perfect, 
and  I  heard  many  of  my  favourite  bits  properly  brought 
out  for  the  first  time.  On  the  other  hand,  I  remem- 
bered how  differently  a  certain  person  played  the  piano 
part.  I  thought  Bulow's  interpretation  of  the  F  major 
subject  in  the  first  movement  lacked  simplicity,  breadth, 
and  fervour.  I  always  felt  those  crescendos  and 
diminuendos  miles  ahead,  whereas  the  orchestra,  to  a 
man,  gave  a  complete  impression  of  spontaneity.  His 
technique  was  colourless,  too ;  he  does  not  play  the 
chain  of  octave-trills  half  as  loudly  or  as  well  as  you. 
I  thought  him  best  in  the  Adagio.  On  the  whole,  he 
certainly  appealed  to  us  yesterday;  we  thoroughly 
enjoyed  it.  His  genuine,  unreserved  devotion  to  your 
music  was  so  evident,  and,  alas  !  so  unusual  a  thing 
here,  that  we  felt  as  if  we  were  among  friends  again 
after  living  with  strangers.  For  you  know  (though  I 
can't  resist  repeating  it)  that  your  music  is  as  indis- 
pensable to  our  existence  as  air,  light,  and  heat.  You 
can't  think  how  glad  we  are  not  to  have  to  give  the 
dead  masters  all  our  affection  and  enthusiasm,  and 
how  glad  that  the  one  to  whom  we  already  owe  so 
much  still  lives  and  labours,  and  is,  we  hope,  neither 
inaccessible  nor  quite  indifferent  to  us.  Yesterday, 
when  the  horn  first  rang  out  in  the  last  movement,  it 
seemed  as  if  you  were  sending  us  a  glorious  greeting 
from  afar.  You,  poor  thing,  can  never  be  a  mere 
listener  to  music.     You  are  really  to  be  pitied. 

Bulow  enjoyed  himself  greatly  yesterday,  one  could 
see,  but  was  much  taken  aback  by  your  absence.  We 
did  not  tell  him  before  the  concert  that  it  was  his  own 
fault,  for  fear  of  exciting  him,  and  afterwards  had  no 
opportunity     We  had  just  time  to  thank  him,  and  saw 


152  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

him  no  more  that  evening,  as  he  had  visitors.  So  we 
drank  your  health  instead  with  the  Kirchners,  the 
Wachs,  the  fat  one  and  Ethel,  in  our  little  room,  and 
you  would  have  realized  from  some  of  the  remarks 
that  went  flying  about  that  your  music  takes  deeper 
and  deeper  root  in  all  our  hearts.  The  Wachs  are 
real  devotees,  too.  The  fat  one — that  is,  my  brother 
— sends  word  that  it  was  only  the  fear  of  intruding, 
when  you  were  so  surrounded,  that  kept  him  from 
saying  good-bye  to  you  at  the  Tonkunstlerverein.  In 
spite  of  his  size,  he  is  always  making  himself  small 
figuratively,  dear,  modest  fellow.  But  now  good-bye. 
Heinz  would  like  to  embrace  you  if  you  will  allow  him. 
He  was  so  happy  yesterday. — Ever  yours, 

E.  H. 

The  staccato  passage  which  comes  before  the  lovely 
B  flat  minor  in  the  coda  of  the  first  movement*  was 
amazingly  effective,  sharp  and  clean-cut  as  we  never 

heard  it  here.     The  pizzicato    Ji'  J  immediately  after 

the  second  subject  was  capital,  too.f  The  energetic 
passages  were  indeed  wonderfully  worked  out  all 
through,  if  I  except  the  fabulous  roaring-lion  basses 
after  the  strmgendo  in  the  introduction  of  the  last  move- 
ment. You  forced  them  out  so  magnificently,  while 
he  did  not  exert  half  enough  pressure.     The  stringcndo 

*  In  the  C  minor  symphony. 

f  This  is  a  mistake.  The  particular  passage  (p.  ii,  bar  2  of  the 
full  score)  has  this  figure — 


brought  first  by  the  violas,  marked  col  arco,  while  the  other  strings 
give  a  pizzicato  chord. 


THE  'BACH  AUSGABE'  153 

itself  was  superb.  I  longed  for  our  own  oboist  in  the 
Adagio,  for  his  sustained  G  sharp*  is  quite  another 
thing,  and  he  plays  more  artistically  altogether.  But 
the  Meininger  clarinettist  is  great  !t 

104.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  March  18,  1882.] 

Just  a  word  of  thanks  to  you  and  the  dear  '  Miss.'J 
I  shall  try  and  revenge  myself  as  well  as  I  can  on 
you  both  for  your  kind  letters  before  long. — Kindest 
regards,  j,  Br. 

105.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  March  21,  1882.] 

Dear  Friend, — May  I  make  a  small  {mf)^  demand 
on  your  kindness  ?  Hartels  have  asked  for  my  sub- 
scription for  the  twenty-seventh  annual  set  of  the  Bach 
Atisgabe  {i^yy),\\  before  sending  me  cantatas  131  to  140. 
I  have  the  cantatas  121  to  130,  but  not  the  thematic 
index  or  the  last  volume  (iv.  ?)  of  chamber-music  (violin 
and  violoncello). 

Are  the  two  volumes  in  the  twenty-seventh  set  (1877)  ? 
I  have  no  record  of  them  in  the  bound  volumes.  The 
Art  of  Fugue  and  the  Choral  Vorspiele  are  there  ;  I  hope 
there  is  nothing  else  missing.  .  .  . 

Would  you  mind  paying  five  thaler  for  the  current 

*  P.  29  of  the  full  score. 

t  Richard  Miihlfeld,  the  famous  clarinettist,  for  whom  Brahms 
afterwards  composed  his  various  chamber  pieces  with  clarinet. 

+  Miss  Ethel  Smyth. 

§  Brahms  had  a  particular  affection  for  mczzo-fortc  effects. 

II  The  standard  critical  edition  of  Bach,  published  by  Breitkopf 
and  H  artel. 


154  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

year,  and  if  required  another  five  for  the  last  but  one, 
and  having  the  volumes  forwarded  to  me  immediately? 

Please  don't  be  angry,  and  don't  let  your  wife  and 
the  dear  'Miss'  be  angry  at  my  answering  their  nice 
letters  in  such  a  way. 

But  I  am  probably  coming  myself  soon.  I  have  to 
conduct  my  Requiem  at  Hamburg  on  Good  Friday,  and 
expect  to  look  in  on  you  on  the  way  home. 

How  about  a  little  journey  at  Easter?  I  should  like 
a  few  days  at  Weimar  and  Jena.  If  you  would  come, 
too,  and  prowl  round  with  me  a  few  days,  it  would  be 
quite  delightful,  by  Jove !  and  much  better  than  Hum- 
boldtstrasse,  which  could  still  be  taken  on  the  way. 
Send  me  just  a  line. — Yours,  t    Brahms. 

1 06.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Dresden,  March  25,  1882. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — The  enclosed  receipt  will 
convey  the  sad  assurance  that  you  really  owed  for  the 
twenty-seventh  series.  I  probed  as  far  as  the  company's 
ledger,  and  established  the  fact  beyond  a  doubt.  I 
suggested  to  the  treasurer  that  they  might  send  you 
the  publications  annually,  to  be  paid  through  the  post 
at  your  end  without  waiting  for  your  member's  sub- 
scription. He  is  quite  willing,  and  is  only  waiting  for 
your  authorization.  You  might  entrust  me  with  that 
too;  then  I  shall  perhaps  be  the  gainer  by  another  nice 
little  note  like  the  last. 

We  are  here  for  a  few  days  (until  Tuesday)  with  our 
brother  Ernst*  We  might  even  hear  Reinthaler's 
Kdtchen\  if  we  went   to   the   theatre,  which  is  very 

*  Ernst  von  Stockhauscn. 

t  Kdtchen  von  Heilbronn,  prize  opera  of  the  year  (1881),  by  Karl 
Reinthaler, 


MAGIC  IN  A  NAME  155 

doubtful !  We  travelled  in  the  same  carriage  with 
Reinthaler  without  knowing  it,  until  he  introduced 
himself  at  Riesa  by  turning  to  my  wife  and  announcing 
with  great  firmness  :  *  You  are  Frau  von  Herzogenberg ; 
I  am  Reinthaler.  You  got  in  at  Leipzig,  and  mentioned 
the  name  Brahms  in  the  course  of  conversation,  which 
is  quite  enough  for  me.'    So  much  notice  did  we  attract ! 

As  to  the  Easter  prowl,  neither  could  we  imagine 
anything  more  delightful,  though  the  how  and  where 
and  whether  would  have  to  be  discussed  of  course. 
For  the  present  we  shall  count  on  your  visit  to  Hum- 
boldtstrasse,  all  of  us  down  to  Fanny,  Ponto,  and  our 
*  Miss.'  Liesel  is  just  writing  to  Epstein,  who  proposed 
a  visit  to  us  at  Easter  last  autumn  in  Vienna.  As  soon 
as  we  hear  anything  definite  from  him  we  will  write 
again.  Perhaps  you  could  come  to  us  before  going  to 
Hamburg  in  any  case  ?  How's  that?  Or  do  you  feel 
like  playing  duets  with  Epstein  at  our  house? 

Kindest  regards  from  us  both  and  a  request  for 
a  post-card,  if  possible  before  we  leave  (Kurfursten- 
strasse,  2'j'). — Always  yours  sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 

107.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig]  Afril  6,  1882. 

Dear  Friend, — It  is  very  sad — Epstein  is  coming ! 
I  don't  mean,  of  course,  the  fact  that  he  is  coming,  for 
I  am  very  glad,  but  that  it  could  not  be  a  little  later,  so 
that  we  could  have  our  nice  little  spring  outing.  Our 
lament  is  a  three-part  canon !  I  enclose  a  miserable 
photograph  of  the  head  of  Feuerbach's  charming 
Madonna,  just  to  show  my  good-will.  I  wanted  to 
give  you  some  idea  of  this  beautiful  picture  which  you 


156  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

never  saw,  but  the  stupid  Dresdeners  could  produce 
nothing  better.  But  I  am  very  backward  in  thanking 
you  for  the  happy  twenty-four  hours  you  gave  us. 
How  can  I  tell  you  what  such  an  evening  with  your 
songs  means  to  us!*  You  can't  imagine  what  it  is 
to  sit,  and  dip,  and  sip  at  the  fountain-head,  indulging 
oneself  to  the  full  in  unvarnished  delight — or  can  you, 
I  wonder  ? 

Excuse  this  hurried,  scrappy  note,  but  I  have  a 
visitor  in  my  room  in  the  shape  of  a  snuff-taking  old 
aunt,  a  Holsteiner  all  over,  who  discourses  so  worthily 
between  the  pinches  that  it  is  impossible  to  write. 

I  know  someone  who  would  be  happier  listening 
to-morrowf  than  you  conducting,  for  it  is  all  'stuff' 
to  you !  Think  of  me  when  you  come  to  ewige 
Freude.  .  .  ,% 

Epstein  has  not  qiiite^  quite  definitely  said  he  is 
coming.  If  in  the  end  he  telegraphs  *  Not  coming,'  we 
may  after  all  telegraph  *  Coming ' .  .  .  but  on  the  whole 
you  may  be  glad  to  be  at  the  end  of  your  pilgrimages.  § 

Heinz  is  at  a  charity  board  meeting,  but  instructed 
me  to  send  every  imaginable  kind  message. — With 
kindest  regards,  yours  gratefully  and  sincerely, 

E.  Herzogenberg. 

♦  Brahms  had  responded  to  the  '  nice '  letters  by  sending  a  parcel 
of  songs  to  form  a  supplement  to  those  sent  before,  and  now 
published  as  Op.  84-86. 

t  At  the  performance  of  the  Requiem  in  Hamburg. 

!t  The  close  of  the  second  part :  *  Ewige  Freude  wird  iiber  ihrcm 
Haupte  sein.' 

§  In  the  original  the  writer  rings  the  changes  on  the  four  different 
meanings  of  the  expression  am  Ende,  using  it  to  express  '  in  the  end,' 
*  after  all,'  *  on  the  whole,'  and  '  at  the  end,'  respectively. — Tr. 


THERESE' 


157 


108.  Brahms  to  Elisahet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April,  1882.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  hope  you  still  have  my  song, 
Therese  ?*  I  should  be  particularly  pleased  if  you  could 
honestly  give  your  approval  to  the  following  version  : 


m. 


■t 


-^ 


'^^ 


:itzz 


and 


Du  milch-jun-ger    Kna  •  be,  wie  schaust  du  mich  an, 


fs-iv 


■■-^S- 


::1: 


TT^ 


^^m 


t 


al  -  le  Rats-herr'n  in  der  Stadt  und   al  -  le    Wei  -  sen  der  Welt. 

One  version  is  as  old  as  the  other,  though  not, 
perhaps,  so  simple  to  sing.  But  although  this  one 
has  been  more  generally  copied  and  sung,  I  cannot 
get  used  to  it,  and  am  puzzled  to  know  what  to  do. 

Sing  the  song  through  again,  both  of  you,  and  let 

the  poor  youth  languish  at  the  piano  meanwhile ;  then 

send  me  a  line. — Yours  most  sincerely, 

J.Br. 

109.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  Afril  26,  1882. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — With  the  best  will  in  the 
world,  I  cannot  take  to  the  old-new  version,  and 
Heinrich  feels  the  same  about  it.  I  should  feel  quite 
sad  if  you  insisted  on  it.     The  simpler  form 


— ^ — ^ — 0 — ^_. . 


I       I 


*  Op.  86,  No.  I. 


158  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

seems  to  me  to  go  much  better  with  the  counterpoint 
on  the  piano  than  the  other  jagged  version,  and  to  be 
much  more  in  keeping  with  the  song,  where  clear 
diction  matters  far  more  than  voice  display.  Just  try 
singing  to  yourself,  in  the  light  manner  that  suits  the 
piece,  that  jump  to  the  octave  below  !  Is  it  not  clumsy 
compared  with  the  simple  repetition  of  the  three 
notes  ? 

I  do  beg  you  won't  meddle  with  the  dear  little  song 
any  more,  but  rest  satisfied  with  the  simpler  version. 

When  can  we  have  another  look  at  all  the  beloved 
songs  ?  We  are  probably  going  to  Frankfurt  in  May 
to  dear  Frau  Schumann  (I  have  begged  off  Jena!),*  and 
it  would  be  glorious  if  we  could  try  your  new  ones 
with  Stockhausen.t  I  am  always  thinking  of  the 
F  major,!  and  preferably  in  connection  with  Stock- 
hausen,  who  is,  after  all,  the  only  one  to  sing  it.  This 
part — vaguely  as  it  is  outlined  in  my  memory — 


i^irjry^^^^^EiE^^^^  etc. 


tugs  at  my  very  heart-strings. 

.  .  .   But  I  must  stop.     Remember  us  to  the  dear 

kind   professor,§   whose   visit  we   enjoyed    so   much. 

What  a  splendid  creature  he  is!    You  must  tell  him  he 

made  several  conquests  here.      Good-bye,  dear  friend 

and  Doktor.     Where  shall  you   go   this   summer? — 

Ever  your  devoted  friends, 

Elisabet  and  H.  H. 

*  She  was  to  have  gone  there  for  another  course  of  treatment  for 
her  heart  trouble  (c/.  Letter  87). 

t  JuHus  Stockhausen  had  settled  at  Frankfurt  to  teach  singing 
in  1878. 

X  Fcldcmsamkeit,  Op.  86,  No.  2.  §  Epstein. 


AT  ISCHL  159 

1 10.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[IscHL,  May  15,  1882.] 

Here  it  is,  then,  with  my  kindest  regards,*  but  I 
must  really  see  the  name  printed  on  a  title-page,  or 
how  am  I  to  know  it  ? 

I  am  at  Ischl,  and  the  weather  is  horrible — appalling ! 
It  rains  (or  snows)  incessantly :  schwarz  ist  das  Kraut 
und  der  Himmel  niir  erst!\  There  is  a  stove  in  this 
room  (lighted,  too!)  and  I  must  have  one  put  in  the 
other. 

And  this  is  Ischl — on  the  15th  of  May ! 

All  is  well  with  the  'milk-white  youth 'J — that  is, 
according  to  your  wishes.  I  could  let  you  have  the 
songs  now,  but  you  are  not  going  to  Frankfurt  after  all, 
but  to  Halle.  And  where  next  ?  not  to  Berchtesgaden, 
of  course  ?  That  would  be  too  near  to  me,  eh  ?  What 
about  Bayreuth  ?  I  am  meditating  it,  though  I  am 
convinced  that  we  shall  have  Parsifal^\  at  any  rate,  in 
various  places  next  winter. 

*  The  letter  accompanied  an  autograph  promised  to  Miss  Ethel 
Smyth.  Frau  Herzogenberg's  letter  containing  the  request  is 
missing. 

t  Quotation  from  the  song  Uher  die  Heide,  Op.  86,  No.  4,  in  which 
the  last  words  actually  read  :  und  der  Himmel  so  leer. 

%  Cf.  Letter  109,  1 10,  the  song  quoted. 

§  Wagner's  Parsifal  received  its  first  performance  at  Bayreuth  in 
July,  1882.  The  work  was  to  be  Bayreuth's  monopoly,  as  is  well 
known.  Brahms  often  regretted  never  having  been  there.  In  the 
summer  of  1882  he  writes  to  Biilow :  *  The  fact  that  I  cannot 
come  to  a  decision  about  Bayreuth  probably  means  that  I  am 
unable  to  produce  that  "  yes."  I  need  hardly  say  that  I  go  in  dread 
of  the  Wagnerians,  who  would  spoil  my  pleasure  in  the  best  of 
Wagners.  I  don't  know  yet  what  I  shall  do.  I  may  take  advan- 
tage of  my  beard,  which  still  allows  me  to  trot  about  so  nice  and 
anonymously.' 


i6o  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

51  Salzburgerstrasse.*  Write  that  down  now  on 
a  few  envelopes,  and  send  one  occasionally  to  yours 
very  sincerely,  j,  Brahms. 

III.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  May  18,  1882. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Many  thanks  for  your  kind 
promptitude.  I,  the  petitioner,  and  Ethel  Smyth,  the 
favoured  one,  are  both  greatly  touched  by  your  kind- 
ness. But  where  did  you  gain  this  fabulous  experience 
in  writing  letters  of  introduction  ?  Such  elegance  and 
finish — you  might  be  a  Frenchman!  ...  a  far  cry 
from  your  usual  self  f 

But  please  don't  get  it  into  your  head  that  I  am  going 
to  Halle  (by  which  you  again  mean  Jena).  I  told  you 
I  was  let  off,  and  that  we  were  going  to  Frankfurt. 
After  that  we  have  one  duty  after  another  to  pay  off— 
a  visit  to  Heinrich's  family  in  Bohemia,  and  another  to 
the  poor  invalid  W.  at  Graz.  Then  we  may  relax  for 
a  brief  space  in  some  little  corner  of  the  mountains, 
probably  in  Carinthia  or  the  Tyrol  as  being  the  nearest. 
If  you  still  had  your  abode  at  Portschach,  we  should  of 
course  make  you  a  visitation  ;  but  Ischl ! — really  pro- 
vidence seems  bent  on  upsetting  our  nice  summer 
plans. 

Until  Whitsuntide  any  communication  here  will  find 
us.     I  hope  you  were  not  teasing  me  about  the  songs? 

*  Brahms's  summer  home  at  Ischl  in  1880  and  1882,  and  from 
1889  to  1896  {cf.  Victor  von  Miller's  Brahmsbilderbuch,  pp.  98,  loi. 

t  As  Brahms  had  said  in  his  letter  that  he  must  see  the  name 
Ethel  Smyth  printed  on  a  title-page  before  he  could  be  supposed  to 
remember  it,  Frau  von  Hcrzogenberg  jestingly  assumed  that  he 
intended  an  indirect  recommendation  of  the  coming  composer  to 
pubhshers. 


FRAU  SCHUMANN  AT  HOME  i6i 

If  you  were,  I  only  hope  your  '  blackened  vegetation ' 
and  '  blacker  skies '  will  persist. 

Ethel  sends  kind  remembrances.  Do  you  know  she 
is  going  to  begin  and  work  on  her  own  next  winter,  in 
Florence,  where  you  may  perhaps  meet.  She  imagines 
she  can  finish  all  her  fugues  on  the  dominant  there  un- 
rebuked.  I  am  very  curious  to  know  how  she  will  get 
on.  One  good  thing  is  that  she  will  not  hear  too  much 
Brahms. 

But  good-bye,  and  let  something  penetrate  to  us 
from  your  winter-quarters,  which  are  doubtless  very 
cosy,  and  will  be  productive  of  many  beautiful  things. 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


112.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Wernsdorf  bei  Kaaden,* 

July  13,  1882. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — You  know  from  experience 
that,  try  as  one  will,  it  is  sometimes  impossible 
to  get  any  letters  written.  ...  It  was  so  nice  and 
comfortable  at  Frankfurt  in  Frau  Schumann's  grand 
new  house.  We  much  enjoyed  our  week  there.  It 
was  too  charming  to  see  her  in  her  professional 
capacity,  as,  with  flushed  cheeks,  she  brought  forward 
her  best  pupils  to  play  to  us — severe  and  lenient, 
teacher  and  mother  by  turns,  as  she  listened.  I  could 
not  help  thinking  to  myself:  'How  nice  to  be  born 
again  and  become  her  pupil  !' 

I  shall  never  forget  an  evening  at  Stockhausen's, 
when  he  sang  Dichterliebe\  to  Frau  Schumann's  accom- 
paniment.    It  was  all   so  fresh   and  spontaneous.     I 

*  A  town  ill  North- Western  Bohemia, 
t  Schumann's  song-cycle. 

II 


i62  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

had  never  heard  him  do  that  particular  cycle,  and  was 
quite  carried  away  at  times  by  his  profound  sincerity 
and  vigour.  .  .  .  There  was  a  princess,  about  whom 
I  had  grave  qualms ;  but  I  believe  I  am  easily  pre- 
judiced by  a  powdered  nose  in  conjunction  with  a 
pince-nez.  When  she  went  up  quite  close  to  Frau 
Schumann  in  a  confidential  way,  I  thought  of  Eglantine 
and  Euryanthe,  and  really  suffered  tortures ;  while  to 
see  Euryanthe  rub  her  hands,  and  ward  off  the  other  in 
her  touching  manner,  was  as  good  as  a  theatre. 

Of  course  we  called  on  the  Dessoffs,*  and  I  can  only 
say :  How  can  a  Saxon  become  such  a  northerner  ? 
What  an  age  it  takes,  invariably,  for  any  two  people 
to  come  out  of  their  shells  !  They  meet  as  Kapellmeister 
and  Mr.  So-and-so,  or  as  anything  their  particular 
place  in  the  world  causes  them  to  represent,  and  the 
commonplaces  and  deliberately  impersonal  remarks 
that  pass  between  them  are  heart-breaking.  Only 
children  are  genuine.  I  was  enchanted  with  your 
little  godchild  Johannes,t  who,  when  I  beckoned  him 
to  sit  beside  me  on  the  sofa,  said  firmly  but  prettily : 
'  No,  I  am  not  tired.' 

But  you  must  be  by  now,  and  I  will  say  good-bye. 
Perhaps  you  will  favour  us  with  a  few  lines  at  Bestwie, 
Schloss  Bestwie,  Post  Bestwie,  Bohemia,  where  we 
shall  be  the  coming  week.  We  hope  to  be  at  Graz  on 
July  the  ist,  Korblergasse  32. 

Why  have  your  songs  not  come  ?  Do  please  send 
them  as  soon  as  possible. — Kindest  regards  from  your 
faithful  Herzogenbergs. 

■*  Otto  Dessoff  (1835- 1 892),  formerly  conductor  of  the  Vienna 
Philharmonic,  was  appointed  first  conductor  of  the  Stadttheater  at 
Frankfurt  in  1881. 

t  Dessoff's  little  boy. 


SONGS  163 

113.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Graz,  Korblergasse  32, 

July  24,  1832. 

My  very  dear  Eighty-Sixth  !* — It  is  not  often  that 
I  have  three  books  of  new  Brahms  songs  in  the  house 
for  five  days  without  sitting  down  to  thank  the  kind 
donor.  I  value  the  collection  all  the  more  for  the  fact 
that  it  gives  me  a  chance  of  meeting  all  my  old  friends 
again.  For  I  am  just  like  the  mother  of  *  Naz  '  in  the 
dear  Lower-Austrian  poem,  who  looks  forward  to 
heaven  because  she  will  meet  all  the  people  who  have 
gone  before.  '  They  will  all  know  us  at  first  sight,  and 
Naz  will  be  the  most  beautiful  of  them  all.'  Well,  I 
know  all  these  at  sight,  and  know  them  thoroughly; 
for  I  have  refreshed  my  knowledge  of  those  I  knew 
superficially,  while  the  half-understood  ones  now  speak 
with  greater  conviction,  as  for  instance  the  Nachtwand- 
lerlied^\  which  has  only  just  dawned  on  me.  I  am 
particularly  fond  of  the  ending,  '  Wie  vom  Licht  des 
Vollmonds  tnmken^  with  its  beautiful  creeping  accom- 
paniment on  the  G,  and  the  crescendo  in  the  voice  ;  then 
the  rise  in  the  music  at  *  Weh  den  Lippen^  die  ihn  riefen^ 
and  the  way  it  sinks  back  into  the  |  figure  of  the  first 
part,  which,  in  its  dissatisfaction,  seems  made  for  this 
haunting  song.  The  richness  of  it  all,  in  combination 
with  its  perfect  simplicity,  is  what  delights  me. 

But  I  am  insatiable  in  my  affection  for  Feldeht- 
samkeit.X  How  your  soul  must  have  rejoiced  when 
that  first  line  came  to  you,  which  captivates  us  so 
promptly  and  charms  our  ear  by  its  perfect  pitch, 
bathing  us  in  its  warm,  soft  flow  !    How  you  must 

*  The  last  of  the  three  books  of  songs  is  numbered  Op.  86. 
t  Nachtwandlery  Op.  86,  No.  3.  %  Op.  86,  No.  2. 

11 — 2 


i64  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

have  revelled  in  "the  lovely  modulation  into  D  flat 
major,  too,  at  '  tiefe  Trdumen  ' — for  I  hope  you  do  enjoy 
these  little  master-touches  —  and  in  the  return  to 
C  major,  which  is  achieved  so  quickly,  and  yet  so 
gently,  with  time  even  for  a  lingering  caress !  I  am 
fonder  of  Todessehnen  than  ever,  but  I  am  less  willing 
to  submerge  myself  in  Versunken*  on  account  of  the 
forked  lightning  character  of  the  voice  part.  The 
eighty-fifth  book  brings  all  the  good  old  times  back 
again,  and  I  think  of  the  secret  rummaging  in  drawers 
at  Portschach  (what  a  pity  you  are  no  longer  there  ! 
we  could  have  come  over  so  easily  from  here)  as  I 
look  on  the  old  songs  in  their  new  garb.  Waldein- 
samkeit]  is  another  inspiration  such  as  you  don't  have 
every  day — I  question  whether  it  is  not  the  finest  in 
all  three  books — the  sort  that  makes  one  unconsciously 
hold  one's  breath  to  listen  ;  a  glorious  thing,  full  of 
lofty  emotion,  and  yet  so  human  in  its  appeal,  born  as 
it  is  of  deep  personal  experience.  The  man  who  can 
listen  to  it  dry-eyed  is  surely  past  saving !  The  little 
ones  for  one  or  two  voices,  ad  libitum,  are  the 
winningest  little  rogues.J  How  innocent  they  are ! 
It  is  like  looking  into  the  faces  of  children — well- 
brought-up  children,  such  as,  say,  Schubert's  or 
Beethoven's  might  be.  I  can  hardly  imagine  anything 
prettier  or  daintier  than  the  lines  of  the  mother's 
melody  in  Sommerabend,^  and  the  repetition  of  that 
one  line  of  the  words.  How  ingeniously  that  part 
finishes,  too !  I  delight  in  every  little  stroke,  as  if 
it  were  a  fine  old  engraving — by  Dietrich, ||  say,  in 
whose  work   art  and  strong  natural  emotion  are   as 

*  Op.  86,  No.  5.  t  Op.  85,  No.  6. 

X  Romanzcn  und  Lieder,  Op.  84.        §  Op.  84,  No.  i. 
II  C.  W.  Dietrich,  painter  and  etcher  of  the  eighteenth  century. 


SONGS  165 

indistinguishably  blended.  Perhaps  the  Beerenlied^  is 
even  more  lovable,  in  the  gay  insouciance  of  its  modu- 
lation to  E  flat  minor  (that  chameleon-like  key  with 
its  D|,  so  perplexing  at  the  first  reading !),  and  the 
calm  v^ay  in  which  it  sidles  into  B  major.  I  also  take 
some  pleasure  in  the  delicate  quaver  accompaniment 
at  the  first  mention  of  the  '  beloved,'  which  is  so 
charmingly  extended,  the  second  time,  to  suit  the 
*ripe  red  kisses,'  and  the  sudden  and  very  convincing 
return  to  luminous  E  flat  major.  Ah  yes,  the  privi- 
leged master-hand  can  carry  us  at  full  speed,  as 
unconscious  of  our  actual  movements  as  a  beautiful 
deer  in  flight ;  whereas  the  less  supple  runner  makes 
us  pant  and  puff  in  a  piteous  way.  Spannung]  I  find 
strangely  touching.  *  Dtt  sollst  fnir  Antwort  geben,  mein 
EngelJ  is  so  urgent,  so  sweetly  persuasive.  The  words 
are  so  beautiful  there,  and  the  A  major  at  the  close — 
and  the  fond  union  of  the  voices — is  so  exactly  after 
my  own  heart;  indeed,  it  goes  straight  to  my  heart. 
And  so  as  usual  I  may  close  by  thanking  you  sincerely, 
dear  Friend,  for  is  it  not  the  things  which  appeal  to  the 
heart  that  make  life  worth  living  ? 

I  wonder  if  you  will  favour  me  with  a  few  lines, 
averse  as  you  seem  to  writing  this  summer  !  I  should 
so  like  to  have  some  idea  what  you  are  doing,  and 
whether  you  are  thoroughly  enjoying  your  two 
stoves.  What  a  succession  of  lovely  days  !  We  are 
quite  languid  from  this  perpetual  22  degrees  in  the 
shade.  I  can  only  exist  by  bravely  ignoring  the  heat, 
in  which  I  scribble  my  six  hours  a  day  at  Italian.  1 
have   at   last   followed   your  wise   example,!  and  am 

*  In  den  Beeren,  Op.  84,  No.  2.  f  Op.  84,  No.  5. 

%  Brahms  was  learning  Italian  to  arm  himself  for  further  travels  in 
Italy. 


i66  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

labouring  at  this  cruelly  beautiful  language,  which 
makes  one  long  to  be  at  the  summit  while  still  fum- 
bling at  the  foot  of  the  ladder.  However,  I  already 
know  a  few  Tuscan  proverbs,  one  of  which  I  will 
quote,  because  it  will  both  bring  grist  to  your  wicked 
mill  and  serve  to  excuse  me  for  sending  nothing  better 
than  a  gossiping  epistle  by  way  of  thanks  for  your 
songs  :  Le  parole  sono  feminine  e  ifatti  sono  maschi!^ 

Now  I  will  say  good-bye — with  just  one  request. 
When  you  write,  please  tell  me  about  poor  Faber.f 
I  saw  him  at  the  end  of  July  in  Vienna,  and  was  hor- 
rified ;  he  looked  so  much  worse  than  I  expected.  I 
should  like  to  know  your  opinion  of  him  and  Billroth's 
report,  for  doctors  hardly  ever  tell  us  women  the 
truth. 

Poor  dear  fellow!  It  went  to  my  heart  to  see  him 
such  a  wreck.  I  only  hope  he  does  not  see  the  secret 
dread  with  which  we  examine  him.  No  news  from 
St.  Moritz,  unfortunately.^ 

And  now  farewell.  We  are  here  until  August  the 
first,  after  which  we  shall  potter  about  in  the  Tyrol 
and  wind  our  way  gradually  to  Venice,  where  I  hope 
the  Lido  may  be  merciful.  My  mother  writes,  by  the 
way,  that  it  is  not  at  all  hot  there.  Heinz  sends  mes- 
sages and  messages,  and  is  sending  the  psalm  §  in 
print.     We  have  both  enjoyed  it  so  much. — As  ever, 

your  grateful  and  devoted 

E.  Herzogenberg. 

*  From  Giuseppe  Giusti's  Raccolta  di  proverhi  Toscani,  p.  126 
(*  Words  are  [in  Italian]  of  the  feminine,  deeds  of  the  masculine 
gender '),  or,  more  accurately,  Le  parole  son  femmine  e  i  fatti  son 
maschi  ('  Words  are  women,  deeds  are  men '). 

f  Arthur  Faber,  their  mutual  friend,  was  dangerously  ill. 

X  From  Frau  Schumann. 

§  Psalm  cxvi.  for  mixed  chorus  a  capella,  Op.  34. 


QUINTET  IN  F  167 

1 14.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[IscHL,  July  27,  1882.] 
I  am  sending  you  a  little  ditty*  which  will  be  a  more 
satisfactory  immediate  expression  of  thanks  than  a 
letter.  It  rather  hopes  to  earn  another  letter!  You 
will  be  sure  to  send  it  back  when  you  leave,  on  the 
first? 

Meanwhile  kindest  regards  and  thanks.  More  next 
time. — Yours,  j    gj^^ 

115.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Innichen,  Gasthof  zur  Sonne, 
August  6,  1882. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  am  at  last  able  to  thank 
you  properly  both  for  the  loan  of  the  quintet  and  for 
the  dear,  lovely  thing  itself,  which  has  already  given 
me  such  pleasure,  and  will  give  me  still  more  this 
winter  if  we  hear  it  at  Leipzig.  I  feel  sure  we  shall, 
for  since  Father  Rontgenf  made  such  a  sensation  with 
the  G  major  sextet  at  the  Kammermusik  that  time, 
there  is  no  holding  him.  True,  the  poor  fellow  will 
be  in  very  low  spirits  after  his  trials  this  summer  (his 
wife  has  been  ill  seven  weeks  with  acute  muscular 
rheumatism,  and  is  only  allowed  up  an  hour  at  a  time, 
smothered  in  cotton-wool);  but  I  expect  I  shall  be 
able  to  rouse  him  by  playing  him  the  first  movement 
in  October  (what  a  blessing  I  got  an  accurate  idea 
of  it !),  and  the  first  largo  in  the  second  movement, 
which  is  one  of  the  most  overwhelming  things  I  know. 
He  may  well  envy  the  favoured  'cello  and  viola  there, 

*  The  quintet  in  F,  Op.  88  (MS.). 

t  Engelbert  Rontgen,  leader  of  the  Gewandhaus  orchestra  and  of 
the  quartet. 


1 68 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


but  his  own  turn  comes  in  the  A  major  movement,  par- 
ticularly in  the  variation.  How  amazingly  clever  these 
trios  are — lively  and  gay,  yet  full  of  meaning !  This 
part,  too : 

:w—t      f —g — tzzz 


F 


r 


» 


|tz=F-^_|i_|_^ 


which  dies  away  so  charmingly  ! 

But  the  short  Adagio  remains  my  first  favourite. 
It  is  so  lovely  that  you  are  almost  angry  at  being  torn 
away  from  it  by  the  Allegretto' just  as  you  had  lost 
yourself  in  the  solemnity  of  C  sharp  minor,  and  just 
after  that  incomparable  cadence  : 

q.  AD,  G-q. 

3     5#! 
3 

And  how  beautiful  this  is  ! — 


^m 


I  I  I 


*  The  passage  reads  as  follows  in  the  score,  p.  22,  bar  6  : 

1-L 


r-K« 


_^4 saJ-     J         B^i" 


:;^^ 


QUINTET  IN  F 


169 


particularly   where   the   second    violin   takes   up   the 
dying  plaint  of  the  'cello  : 


What  delighted  me  so  particularly  in  the  first  move- 
ment was  its  transparency.  How  grateful  one  is  for 
this  lucidity  of  form,  this  unaffected  loveliness,  which 
you  treat  strictly  according  to  rule,  and  yet  as  if  you 
had  yourself  invented  this  particular  form  to  suit  it ! 
It  is  refreshing  to  see  the  framework  exposed  in  such 
bald,  prosaic  fashion.  The  bridge-passage,  especially 
the  motif  you  turn  to  such  good  account  in  the 
development, 


t    A    :?-  H^-    t 


i^ 


^  -0-  A 


r  r  f  t 
-till- 


is    so   obviously   leading  up   to   something,   and    the 
cleverly  deferred  cadence  on  the  dominant 


g£i^i-*53sgi=s^ 


r 


with  the  engaging  false  relation  (F — F  sharp)  between 
the  second  fiddle  and  viola  in  the  second  barf  gives 
unmistakable  warning  of  the  new  idea  that  is  coming. 

♦  Neither  this  passage  nor  the  previous  one  is  accurately  quoted 
{cf.  p.  20  of  the  score,  last  four  bars). 

t  See  p.  II  of  score.  All  the  musical  quotations  scattered  about 
the  letters  are  from  memory,  the  manuscript  having  been  returned 
before  these  notes  were  made. 


170 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


And  how  beautifully  it  does  come,  on  the  viola !  (Won't 
Julius  Rontgen  have  a  good  time !)  I  love  the  change 
to  F  sharp  minor,  with  the  passionate  rise  to  G  sharp 
and  A  on  the  viola.*  Then  the  place  where  the  fiddle 
takes  up  the  theme,  and  F  sharp  minor  blossoms  into 
A  major,  while  the  second  fiddle  chimes  in  a  third 
below,  is  simply  bewitching;  nor  is  that  luminous 
touch  of  D  major  to  be  despised  ! 


4:- 


S=: 


d=iz= 


The  development,  which  promises  to  be  almost  too 
severe,  has  such  charming  surprises  in  the  two  inter- 
rupted cadences  on  E,t 


^'^M 


^ 


f  tJ"  ^' 


¥-^^ 


^^ 


=^- 


¥: 


and  afterwards  on  G ;  and  the  triplets,  which  come 
billing  and  cooing  close  on  their  heels,  work  up  so 
beautifully  the  second  time  to  the  pedal-note  C  on 
their  wa}''  home  to  the  almost-forgotten  F  major.J  The 
old  gay  rhythm, 


which  breaks  in  upon  the  peaceful  return  of  the  principal 
subject,  is  soon  subdued  to  form  a  fitting  accompani- 
ment to  the  sober  modulation  to  D  flat.§  (You  seem 
particularly  strong  on  modulations  into  D  flat,  Herr 

*  P.  6  of  score.  f  P.  9,  bar  3. 

J  P.  II,  bar  6.  §  P.  12,  bar  3. 


QUINTET  IN  F 


171 


Brahms !)  Then,  after  whirling  through  the  keys  to 
the  dominant  on  E  flat,*  it  swoops  down  to  the  minor 
ninth  on  C,t  which  ushers  in  the  exciting  final  stage 
of  the  working-out  with  its  decisive  and  powerful 
close.  (The  final  cadence — B  flat  minor,  G  flat  major, 
C  majorj — is  magnificent!)  There  is  just  one  note — 
C  flat — which  puzzled  me  sadly  in  this  bar : 


_t^ 


^= 


hi 


-fe: 

It  seems  to  clash  so  painfully  with  the  F,  which 
marks  the  passage  as  distinctively  major.  Please  do 
not  be  horrified  at  this  audacious  airing  of  my  opinions. 
You  did  ask  me  to  write,  you  know,  and  the  only  way 
is  to  do  it  as  if — well,  as  if  I  were  writing  to  anyone 
but  you,  who  must  be  unspeakably  bored  by  a 
description  of  what  you  know  better  than  anyone. 
But  I  shall  not  let  you  off  the  coda  in  the  first  move- 
ment, so  please  submit  to  being  told  how  bewitching 
it  is.  It  positively  lulled  me  to  sleep  on  the  journey 
from  Graz  with  its  charming  swing. 


:^=a=§J 


m 


■^ 


ig: 


-*-• 

i,»=^; 


T" 


::5 


tz^^" 


But  I  have  one  great  objection  to  raise  (Heinrich  and 

*  P.  12,  bar  7.  t  P.  12,  bar  10.  %  P.  13,  bar  10. 

§  P.  12,  bar  7.  II  P.  19,  bars  5  and  6. 


172  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

1  breathed  it  simultaneously) :  the  two  last  *  time's  up !' 
tempo  primo  bars  are  very  disturbing  after  that  splen- 
did dying  elegy.  It  really  is  as  if  your  pen,  not  you, 
were  responsible,  as  if  you  had  done  the  conventional 
thing  without  troubling  yourself  further.  Why  can- 
not the  movement  close  in  a  subdued  key  ?  Why 
this  conventional  *  rouser '  to  cut  short  a  blissful 
dream  ?     *  Weh  den  Lippen^  die  ihn  riefen  /'*  say  I. 

But  take  heart.  Not  a  word  of  the  last  movement, 
as  I  hardly  know  it  at  all.  I  could  not  master  all 
three  in  those  few  days  (the  greater  part  of  the  time 
was  devoted  to  my  poor  relatives  and  my  neglected 
Italian  studies),  so  I  had  to  make  a  selection.  And 
just  this  last  movement  wants  hearing,  I  should  say, 
before  one  can  take  it  all  in.  Also  it  is  less  lyrical  in 
character,  and  we  women  folk,  if  given  the  choice  of 
three  movements,  are  sure  to  seize  the  lyrical  ones. 
Also  it  is  the  most  difficult  to  play,  and  I  must  needs 
choose  that  particular  time  to  fall  on  my  left  thumb 
with  my  full  weight,  and  sprain  the  wretch  badly. 
Heinz  derived  some  amusement  from  discovering  a 
certain  similarity  of  structure  and  treatment  between 
this  movement  and  the  last  of  his  trio  in  F.  He  was  so 
proud  and  pleased,  for  not  only  in  the  first  subject, 


i^3 


but  in  the  second,  and  in  the  way  they  blend,  are  there 
traces  of  it.f  He  is  to-day  doing  his  first  climb  this 
year,  dear  fellow.     He  got  up  at  five,  quite  radiant,  as 

*  Quotation  from  the  Nachwandler,  Op.  86. 

t  The  resemblance  was  purely  accidental,  but  Brahms  was,  as 
a  matter  of  fact,  fond  of  appropriating  other  people's  themes,  partly 
as  a  challenge  to  the  critics,  whose  comments  on  their  discoveries 
always  amused  him. 


QUINTET  IN  F  173 

my  sleepy  eyes  could  see,  and  left  me  in  solitude  with 
my  correspondence  and  a  sore  throat  which  demands 
my  attention  every  now  and  then.  The  harsh  wind, 
combined  with  the  dust  I  swallowed  yesterday,  may 
have  given  it  me.  My  song  is,  not  Das  Grab  ist  meine 
Freiide*  but  '  permanganate  of  potash  is  my  delight.' 
It  is  very  nice  here.  The  air  tastes  good,  and  is 
scented  with  wild-thyme — I  never  sniffed  anything 
so  sweet — and  the  Dolomites  light  up  gorgeously, 
while  the  rest  and  quiet  are  most  refreshing.  Our 
little  inn,  too,  is  excellent.  The  fare  is  good — I  might 
almost  say  delicate — and  everything  is  so  cheap,  one 
forgets  to  pay !  I  heard  from  Bertha  Faber  to-day. 
They  break  up  on  the  12th,  and  expect  to  be  at  Letto- 
witz  on  the  2oth.t  I  do  hope  it  is  safe  for  him  to  go 
there ;  he  will  not  be  put  off.  Your  message  will  find 
me  here  until  the  12th.  I  am  determined  not  to  lose  it, 
for  you  promised  !  You  really  must  not  mind  my 
saucy  chatter.  You  will  at  least  glean  that  a  beautiful 
thing  like  your  quintet  is  not  wasted  on  me  when  you 
send  it.  I  did  wrap  up  the  manuscript  on  the  2nd,  but 
there  was  none  to  take  it  into  town  (Korblergasse  is 
country),  so  it  wouldn't  reach  you  until  the  4th.  If 
you  sent  me  things  oftener,  I  might  learn  to  read  your 
manuscript  as  fluently  as  a  printed  page. 
A  fond  farewell,  and  thank  you  once  more. — Yours, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

1 16.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[IscHL,  August  8,  1882.] 
My  dear  Friend, — It  is  really  unfortunate  that  I  am 
obliged  to  write  at  once,  as  it  really  cannot  be  done. 

*  Cf.  Letter  65.— Tr. 

t  The  estate  of  the  Faber  family. 


174  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  should  have  liked  to  thank  you  at  leisure  for  your 
kind  letters.  As  it  is,  I  will  only  assure  you  that  it  is 
extremely  pleasant  and  necessary  to  hear  a  genuine 
word  of  approval  about  a  new  piece.  My  best  thanks 
are  therefore  due  to  you,  and  to  your  Heinz  for  looking 
through  the  third  part.  So  it  seems  I  copy  him  not 
only  consciously,  but  unconsciously.*  But  shall  I  never 
shake  Qff  the  theologian?!  Here  are  all  these  new 
things  going — and  what  comes  my  way?  This  Psalm, 
of  course !  I  may  add  that  I  enjoyed  it  thoroughly, 
and  heard  in  imagination  a  chorus  singing  it  and  re- 
joicing in  its  flow  of  melody.  But — it  always  costs  me 
a  pang  to  take  up  a  psalm  so  'unheathenish.'  I  have 
just  finished  one  which  is  actually  heathenish  enough 
to  please  me  and  to  have  made  my  music  better  than 
usual,  I  hope. 

*  »  *  ♦  « 

But  as  this  was  not  to  be  a  letter,  I  have  written 

enough.     Turn  over,  and  you  will  have  the  pleasure 

of  seeing  the  very  latest  bridegroom.| — Yours  most 

sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

I  am  not  at  all  clear  about  Innichen  (Innigen?). 
Does  it  lie  at  the  entrance  to  the  Ampezzo  Valley,  the 
village  on  the  other  side  of  the  line  ? 

*  Brahms  alludes  to  the  liberty  he  had  taken  in  O  schone  Nacht 
{cf.  Letters  15  and  19). 

t  Brahms  really  prided  himself  on  his  Biblical  knowledge,  in 
which  he  was  a  match  for  any  theologian.  He  had  always  taken 
pleasure  in  hunting  up  '  godless '  texts  in  the  Bible.  Nothing  made 
him  angrier  than  to  be  taken  for  an  orthodox  Church  composer  on 
account  of  his  sacred  compositions.  His  Vier  ernste  Gesdnge  (see 
Letters  275  and  277)  are  not  the  only  protests  he  made. 

%  The  note-paper  bore  a  vignette  of  Biilow,  who  had  been  married 
to  Marie  Schanzer  in  July. 


CONCERT  ENGAGEMENTS  175 


1 1 7.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

Dear  Lady, — Will  you  kindly  make  my  excuses  to 
'  Papa '  Rontgen  ?  I  have  only  one  copy  of  the  score 
and  parts,*  and  cannot  spare  them  just  now.  My 
copyist  is  busy,  too,  or  I  would  have  them  written 
out.  In  fact,  it  can't  be  done,  much  as  I  should  like  to 
think  I  had  earned  a  smile  from  'Mama'! 

Having  made  the  first  plunge,  I  may  now  begin  to 
swim !  I  found  an  alarming  pile  of  letters  here,  and 
can  write  variations  on  the  theme  :  '  I  don't  like  giving 

concerts.'     From  Moscow  and  St.  Petersburg  to , 

they  will  all  receive  the  same  answer. 

A  parting  smile  for  this  friendly  sheet ;  then  I  turn 
to  the  next. 

I  suppose  Kirchner  is  still  there,  and  will  be  ? — Very 

kindest  regards  from 

J.Br. 

118.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[Frankfurt  a/M.,  December  29,  1882.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  am  just  off  to  the  concert.  To- 
morrow I  go  straight  to  Vienna,  where  I  am  playing 
on  the  4th,  and  I  leave  Amsterdam  on  the  13th  !  So  I 
can  only  sigh  a  refusal  to  your  engagement.  I  feel 
quite  melancholy  when  I  think  of  the  fat  fee !  How- 
ever,  it's    impossible    this    time.  —  Kindest    regards. 

Yours, 

J.Br. 

*  Of  the  Quintet  in  F. 


176  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

1 19.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  A'pril  15,  1883.] 

You  will  now  be  able  to  play  the  concerto  on  two 
pianos.*  ...  I  hope  you  won't  mind  my  inflicting  two 
copies  on  you  to  that  end ! 

Many  thanks  for  your  very  kind  messages.  The 
professorf  did  actually  come  ! — Sincerely  yours, 

J.Br. 

120.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  May  5,  1883. 

My  dear  Friend,  —  In  these  new-German  Musik- 
verein  days,t  it  was  comforting  and  refreshing  to  think 
of  you  and  your  coming  birthday,  and  remind  ourselves 
that  we  belong  rather  more  to  you  than  to  the  Musik- 
verein^  stamped  though  we  are  with  Riedel's  order 
(V.M.),  initials  which  are  held  to  add  distinction  to  even 
Wagner's  list  of  honours.  You  may  be  glad  to  have 
escaped  all  that  we  have  been  through  since  the  3rd, 
from  Draseke's  Dies  Irce  by  way  of  M.  Vogel's  and 
H.  Zopfs  songs,  Russian  symphonies  and  quartets§  to 
the  introduction  and  the  transformation  business  from 
Parsifal.  Oh,  I  know  there  is  occasional  evidence 
of  real  talent  and  vigour  (as  in  the  Borodine  symphony), 

*  The  Concerto  in  B  flat,  in  Brahms's  own  arrangement  for  two 
pianos,  was  published  by  Simrock  at  the  end  of  the  year  1882. 

•}•  Probably  Professor  Engelmann  from  Utrecht. 

X  A  Tonkiinstlerversammlung  of  the  Allgemeinen  deuischen  Musik- 
verein  was  held  at  Leipzig  from  May  3  to  May  6.  Karl  Riedel,  one 
of  the  founders,  had  been  president  of  the  Verein  since  Brendel's 
death  in  1868. 

§  A  string  quartet  by  Rimsky- Korsakoff,  and  Borodine's  Symphony 
in  E  flat. 


THE  LEIPZIG  FESTIVAL  177 

but  side  by  side  with  such  atrocities,  such  amateurish- 
ness, that  it  seems  as  if  the  new  German  Musikverein 
had  taken  pattern  by  Busch's  Httle  remark  at  the 
end  of  his  St.  Antony : 

*  Lots  of  great  sheep  are  admitted,  and  so 
To  one  nice  little  pig  they  can  hardly  say  no  1' 

One  can't  help  getting  angry,  and  feeling  it  a  dubious 
pleasure  to  hear  your  Parzenlied^  at  such  a  concert. 
Equal  rights  for  all  is  an  unfortunate  principle  applied 
to  art,  for  art  is  and  always  will  be  aristocratic.  As  we 
listend  to  yoxsx  Par zenlied  in  the  rehearsal  at  the  Crystal 
Palace  to-day,  we  felt  much  as  if  a  Spanish  grandee  had 
strayed  into  a  tavern. 

Wiillner  sat  next  to  us,  and  was  some  consolation,  for, 
naturally,  we  could  not  discuss  your  Parzen  with  the 
Meister.^  And  so  there  were  three  noses  glued  to  the 
dear  score,  and  three  hearts  thanking  you,  each  in  his 
own  way,  but  in  good  faith. 

NikischJ  took  a  lot  of  trouble,  and  did  all  that  anyone 
could  do  at  Leipzig,  where  the  ladies  of  the  chorus  are 
not  much  concerned  as  to  whether  they  sing  flat 
or  sharp,  although  they  can  look  languishing,  and  sing 
from  memory  with  their  arms  folded.  Certain  passages 
always  sound  out  of  tune,  and  just  that  heavenly 
passage,  *  And  wait  in  vain,'  did  certainly  wait  in  vain 
for  purity  of  intonation.  But  in  spite  of  it,  the  actual 
sound  effect,  which  was  the  one  thing  we  could  not 
imagine  beforehand,  gave  it  all  the  fascination  of  an 
absolutely  unknown  work.  Some  places,  which  we  had 
had  hard  work  to  understand  and  like,  from  reading  the 

*  Song  of  the  Fates  for  chorus  and  orchestra,  Op.  89. 
f  Franz  Liszt,  who  had  been  specially  invited  to  the  Festival. 
X  Arthur  Nikisch  (b.  1855),  the  famous  conductor,  at  that  time 
first  conductor  of  the  Leipzig  Opera. 

12 


178  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

score — for  instance,  the  violent  changes  at  So  sturzen 
die  Gdste geschmdht  und geschdndet  {\  was  guilty  of  much 
heresy  over  that  C  minor  and  A  minor,  and  the  cruel 
place  farther  on  at  the  v^ord  tiefen !) — seemed  quite 
powerful  and  convincing  when  we  actually  heard  them, 
and  we  gave  in  to  the  beautiful  inevitable  with  a  good 
grace. 

But  you  are  sure  to  have  heard  plenty  about  it,  not 
to  speak  of  your  own  consciousness  of  its  value,  and 
I  will  not  dissect  our  enjoyment  for  your  benefit, 
but  merely  thank  you  for  the  gift,  and  tell  you  how  we 
felt  in  that  pure  air,  that  lofty  region,  after  the  very 
mixed  odours  of  the  new-German  Musikverein. 

We  are  at  last  sending  the  belated  copy  of  Chodo- 
wiecki,*  which  I  ferreted  out  after  much  trouble,  the 
edition  being  completely  sold  out,  as  I  told  you.  The 
little  volume  should  have  been  your  Christmas  present, 
but  you  must  please  accept  it  as  a  small  birthday 
remembrance  now.  Heinz  sends  greetings  from  the 
depths  of  his  good,  honest  Middle -High -German 
heart.  He  has  had  quite  enough  of  the  new-Germans, 
and  said  the  other  day,  after  hearing  the  violin  con- 
certo (very  sympathetically  played  by  Brodsk}^)  :t 
*  His  old  brown  overcoat  is  worth  three  hundred  of 
that  other  crowd  T  We  are  very  tired,  and  long  for 
Waldeinsamkeit  and  the  B  major  mood  {Ich  sass  zu 
deinen  Fussen)^%  which  the  nightingales  in  the  Rosen- 
thal fail  to  conjure  up. 

*  Probably  Chodowiecki's  Travels,  Berlin  to  Danzig,  in  1873,  a 
facsimile  reproduction, 

f  Dr.  Adolf  Brodsky,  violinist,  at  that  time  Professor  at  Leipzig 
Conservatorium,  now  Principal  of  the  Royal  College  of  Music, 
Manchester. 

t  Op.  85,  No.  6. 

§  A  wooded  park  just  outside  the  town. — Tr. 


THE  LEIPZIG  FESTIVAL  179 

Good-bye.  Bestow  a  little  affection  on  us,  and  I 
should  not  mind  having  another  sheet  of  music-paper 
covered  with  scribble,  with  eight  pages  of  Strauss 
waltzes  by  way  of  wrapper !  * 

D'Albertf  is  in  hospital  with  measles.  That  is  what 
comes  of 


*  It  is  all  the  same  to  us — 
For  what  does  it  matter  to  us  ? 
It  matters  nothing  to  us !'  § 

But  all  my  feathers  are  stroked  the  wrong  way  this 
morning,  and  this  festival  is  not  favourable  to  letter- 
writing,  so  make  a  few  excuses  for 

E.  Herzogenberg. 

121.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  May  9,  1883.] 

Many  thanks  for  everything — except  for  the  beautiful 
book,  which  you  must  allow  me  to  consider  as  a  loan. 
I  propose  to  enjoy  it  thoroughly,  and  return  it  as  your 
property  when  I  come  myself 

If  I  were  not  off  to  Cologne  ||  in  a  couple  of  hours, 
I  would  write — and  thank  you — at  greater  length,  and 
that  not  by  crossing  this  card,  but  by  taking  another ! — 
Yours,  J   B^ 

*  Brahms's  way  of  sending  an  autograph. 

f  Eugen  d' Albert  (b.  1864),  famous  pianist  and  composer. 

X  The  opening  of  Liszt's  Concerto  in  E  flat,  which  D'Albert 
played  on  the  second  day  of  the  Festival. 

§  A  Viennese  street-song. 

II  Brahms  played  his  B  flat  concerto  and  conducted  his  second 
symphony  there  at  the  Sixtieth  Lower  Rhine  Festival  (May  11-15). 

12 — 2 


i8o  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

122.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Wiesbaden,  May  20,  1883.] 

I  have  lighted  on  incredibly  nice  quarters  at  Wies- 
baden, Geisbergstrasse  19.*  It  is  really  worth  while, 
and  in  every  way  desirable,  that  you  should  come  and 
inspect  them.  You  will  be  filled  with  envy,  but  come 
all  the  same. 

When  are  you  taking  your  holiday,  and  where  ? — 

Kindest  regards  from  yours, 

J.Br. 

123.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig,  October  i,  1883.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  have  just  addressed  a  letter  of 
Limburger's  to  you,  as  well  as  I  could,  and  cannot 
suppress  the  desire  it  has  given  me  to  write  myself, 
especially  as  I  know  what  is  oh  the  cards.  Do  please 
do  it — come  to  Leipzig  with  your  symphony.  Lim- 
burger  has  probably  sent  you  the  programmes  for 
this  winter.  You  can  choose  any  date  that  suits  you. 
It  would  be  nice,  of  course,  if  you  conducted  the 
Parzenliedy  which  is  due  on  December  the  6th,  at  the 
same  time.  We  heard  it  at  the  festival  in  the  spring 
in  such  remarkably  slow  tempo ;  very  convenient  for 
making  its  acquaintance,  but  hardly  as  it  should  be ! 

Or,  if  you  would  rather  avoid  Raffs  Tageszeiten^] 
which  is  to  be  sung  immediately  after  yours,  you 
might  come  to  us  from  Berlin,  a  geographical  com- 
bination not  to  be  despised  in  view  of  the  exciting 

*  Brahms  finished  his  third  symphony  here  in  the  course  of  the 
summer. 

•j-  Joachim  Raff  (1822-1882),  composer.  The  Tageszeiten  (Op.  209) 
is  a  cantata  in  four  movements  for  chorus,  piano,  and  orchestra. 


INVITATION  TO  LEIPZIG  i8i 

season  before  us.  Anyway,  don't  leave  us  poor 
hungry  wretches  here  out  of  the  reckoning,  or  say : 
Du  siehst,  niein  Sohn,  die  Zeit  wird  hier  zum  Raiini* 
which  must  mean  something  very  bad,  as  I  no  more 
understand  it  than  I  do  the  witch's  multiphcation 
table. 

If  you  do  come,  our  spare  room  is  at  your  disposal, 
not  only  here  at  Leipzig,  as  a  matter  of  course,  but 
also  in  the  year  '85  in  our  own  little  house  at  Berchtes- 
gaden,  parish  of  Konigssee,  land-register  No.  no. 

I  can't  believe — until  I  hear  it  from  your  own  lips — 
that  your  enthusiasm  for  the  Niederwald  monument 
is  leading  you  to  settle  in  Wiesbaden  for  good,t  in 
spite  of  the  fact  that  you  are  not  the  composer  of 
Die  Wacht  am  Rhein.  Is  the  great  Croatian  monarchy 
too  much  for  you,  with  its  leanings  to  Dvorak  rather 
than  to  yourself,  or — your  ambition  makes  me  giddy  ! — 
do  you  aspire  to  the  directorship  of  the  Wiesbaden 
Court  Orchestra  ?  Please  enlighten  us.  People  here 
look  upon  us  as  a  sort  of  Brahms-Wolff,  J  and  we 
must  be  primed  to  answer  their  many  inquiries 
promptly,  or  they  will  begin  to  think  us  pretenders — 
which  we  should  not  like ! 

So  please  send  one  of  your  model  letters  to  Limburger 
to  say  you  accept,  and  one  of  your  short  friendly  notes 
to  us  to  say  you  are  coming  and  like  the  idea. — Your 
devoted 

HeRR — UND  FrAU — ZOGENBERG. 

*  Quotation  from  Parsifal  {Zum  Raum  wird  hier  die  Zeit). 

f  Brahms's  opponents  had  diligently  spread  the  rumour  of  his 
leaving  Vienna,  which  had  arisen  from  a  casual  remark  of  his  to  the 
effect  that  it  was  becoming  practically  impossible  for  a  German  to 
live  in  Vienna.     Count  Taaffe's  Czech  policy  was  abhorrent  to  him. 

X  Hermann  Wolff  (1845-1902),  the  first  concert  agent,  known  as 
'  Concert  Wolff.' 


i82  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

By  the  way,  why  have  you  written  nothing  for 
Luther?  You  have  only  yourself  to  blame  now  if 
you  should  have  to  listen  to  the  Meinardus*  oratorio. 
Meinardus  acted  prudently,  and  finished  it  in  good 
time,  thirty  years  ago,  while  his  colleague  Beckmesser 
did  the  printing  and  advertising  in  three  weeks. 
Bach's  feste  Burg\  is  also  to  be  murdered  in  various 
places.  I  had  to  employ  a  troop  of  copyists  to  meet 
all  the  commissions  I  received.  But  I  would  rather 
have  that;  for  a  noble  joint,  badly  cooked,  is  not  half 
so  unwholesome  as  very  stale  or  very  new  rolls. 

124.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Wiesbaden,  October  3,  1883.] 
Do  you  mind  telling  Herr  Limburger  that  I  have 
just  received  both  your  letters,  but  am  off  to  Vienna 
in  two  hours,  and  shall  not  be  able  to  collect  my 
calendar  and  my  thoughts  until  I  get  there  ?  Thanks 
for  your  kind  letter,  and  good  luck  to  your  house 
(or  castle)  building  enterprise  and  the  happier  time  to 
follow.  And  may  the  happy  time  last  long  enough  to 
bring  illumination  as  to  that  profound  (?)  saying  !t — 
Kindest  regards  to  you  and  a  few  others,  from  yours, 

J.Br. 

125.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  November  24,  1883. 
Dear,  dear  Friend, — We  should  so  like  your  cor- 
roboration of  the  good  news  that  you  are  coming  in 

*  Ludwig  Meinardus  (1827  -  1896),  writer  and  composer.  His 
oratorio  Luther  at  Worms  had  a  considerable  vogue  on  the  occasion 
of  Luther's  Fourth  Centenary,  celebrated  throughout  Protestant 
Germany  on  November  10,  1883. 

t  Bach's  Reformation  cantata. 

X  The  Wagner  quotation  in  Letter  123. 


THE  THIRD  SYMPHONY  183 

February  with  the  new  symphony.  You  know  who 
the  chief  rejoicers  will  be,  so  please  send  us  a  line  to 
set  our  doubts  at  rest. 

How  about  the  possibility  of  studying  the  score  a 
little  beforehand  ?  I  should  enjoy  it  ten  times  as 
much,  being  unfortunately  as  slow  as  I  am  a  fond 
listener.  As  Wullner  and  Joachim  are  doing  the 
symphony,  one  after  the  other,*  I  venture  to  think 
that  an  ordinary  mortal  might  be  able  to  lay  hands  on 
the  score,  even  without  the  design  of  conducting  it. 
But  you  would  first  have  to  allow  it,  then  to  put  in 
a  good  word  for  me,  with  yourself  or  with  someone 
else.  Do  be  very  nice  and  try  to  secure  me  this 
immense  pleasure.  I  put  it  urgently  at  the  risk  of 
your  thinking  me  too  bold,  for  I  always  think  modesty 
an  unpractical  thing  in  itself,  and  everyone  is  justified 
in  expressing  a  vigorous  wish  occasionally.  Besides, 
I  feel  I  need  some  compensation  for  the  long  silence 
to  which  I  was  condemned  last  summer. 

I  hope  you  will  bring  a  few  songs  or  other  trifles  in 
your  old  brown  overcoat  pocket.  That  would  be  too 
delightful.  I  am  longing  for  some  new  songs,  because 
I  like  the  old  ones  so  very  much,  that  is,  more  and 
more,  and  feel  more  courageous  than  usual  about 
singing — which  is  so  different  from  just  reading — 
them.  I  made  a  feeble  attempt  at  the  Regenlied 
yesterday,  but  had  to  give  it  up,  for  it  reduced  me  to 
tears. 

We  get  a  terrific  amount  of  music  here.  If  we  went 
to  hear  everything,  we  should  soon  be  in  our  graves, 
but  we  are  very  diplomatic.  We  had  to  go  to  the  last 
Joachim  quartet  concert,  though.     They  really  play 

*  In  Berlin.  Joachim  conducted  it  on  January  4,  1884,  while 
Brahms  conducted  it  himself  at  Wiillner's  concert  shortly  after,' 


i84  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

like  Bellini  cherubs,  their  tone  is  so  deliciously  pure. 
I  only  wish  you  could  hear  your  A  minor*  played  as 
we  heard  it  the  other  day.  You  don't  get  that  in 
Vienna !  It  sometimes  seems  impossible  to  imagine 
you  among  all  those  sugary  people  until  I  remind 
myself  how  little  you  care  about  hearing  yourself  at 
all.  We  could  really  do  with  a  little  more  froth  and 
flavour  in  our  orchestra  here ;  it  is  so  often  too  sober 
and  reserved  for  anything.  Yet  your  C  minorf  was 
amazingly  good,  and  will  go  splendidly  in  a  year  or 
two,  for  the  Leipzigers  are  even  slower  than  I  am. 
The  Scherzo — I  mean  the  A  flat  movement — and  the 
finale  were  quite  beautifully  played  the  other  day. 
You  could  feel  they  were  putting  their  heart  into  it, 
not  merely  playing  what  was  set  before  them.  We 
were  delighted  with  your  Dutchmen,t  who  happened 
to  be  there.  They  were  so  rational  in  their  opinions 
that  we  found  them  quite  refreshing,  and  were  soon 
on  good  terms.  We  have  had  Grieg  here  for  some 
time.  What  a  charming,  sensitive  nature  he  has! 
He  has  determination  of  character,  too,  which  is  so 
rare  that  one  can  condone  this  sort  of  thing 


more  easily  than  in  some  others.  .  .  . 

*  Quartet  in  A  minor,  Op.  51,  No.  2.  f  Symphony  No.  i. 

X  Sillcm    and    Koopmann    by    name,    friends    of    Brahms    from 
Amsterdam,  who  were  at  Leipzig  on  a  visit. 
§  From  the  'cello  sonata,  Op.  36. 


GRIEG'S  VISIT  185 

But  I  must  stop.  Once  more  I  beg  you  will  not 
throw  the  first  part  of  my  letter  into  the  waste-paper 
basket — I  mean  the  gigantic  inside  one  which  we  all 
carry  for  the  things  we  want  to  forget.  It  means 
so  much  to  me — and  we  ought  all  to  help  each 
other ! 

Let  us  hear  something  of  you  to  make  sure  you  still 

care  about  us  a  little. — With   kindest  regards,  your 

devoted 

Heinrich  and  Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

Please  remember  us  to  Epstein  and  Faber.  My 
husband  will  soon  be  sending  a  parcel  of  new  things 
— 'when'*  you  allow  it.  Abraham t  is  publishing  a 
string  quintet  of  Ethel's,  t  Please  say  whether  you 
cannot  stay  a  little  longer  this  time.  It  would  be 
such  a  fine  chance  for  having  some  music.  We  have 
two  such  good  new  players,  Petri  §  and  Brodsky,  who 
are  very  anxious  to  play  with  you. 

1 26.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  November  29,  1883.] 

Dear  Lady, — Accept  my  best  thanks.  I  am  only 
waiting  until  the  promised  parcel  arrives  to  repeat 
them  on  the  largest-sized  note-paper.  If  I  can,  and 
when  I  can,  II  I  shall  be  happy  to  send  you  my  modest 

*  A  deliberate  use  of  'when'  for  'if  as  a  specimen  of  South 
German  dialect. 

f  Of  the  firm  Peters. 

%  Miss  Ethel  Smyth. 

§  Henri  Petri  (b.  1856),  pupil  of  Joachim  and  of  Brussels  Con- 
servatoire, had  been  appointed  leader  of  the  Gewandhaus  orchestra 
in  1882. 

II  The  'if  and  'when'  are  a  protest  against  the  'when'  in  the 
preceding  letter. 


i86  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

symphony.*     Not  that  your  reasons  have  any  weight 

with  me — quite  the  reverse  !    You  will  master  it  in  no 

time. — Always  yours, 

J.  Br. 

127.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  December  21,  1883.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Keeping  a  promise  implies 
having  made  one.  This  I  shall  do  as  soon  as  I  can, 
but  to-day  I  will  just  write  two  lines  of  thanks  for 
your  parcel  full  of  interesting  things. 

If  I  take  them  to  the  piano,  I  am  transported  to 
your  nice  comfortable  rooms,  and  can  distinctly  hear 
your  very  sweet  singing.  But  if,  like  a  true  German, 
I  begin  to  grumble,  a  sudden  alarm  seizes  me,  and 
I  think:  'Better  be  quiet;  all  that  applies  equally  to 
yourself,  and  your  music  has  such  a  dreadful  bachelor 
ring  into  the  bargain  !'  Some  of  the  grumbling  I  shall 
be  able  to  let  off  on  Heinz  without  exposing  myself 
too  much.  I  feel  most  at  home  in  your  study,  with  the 
first  two  and  last  two  of  the  duets.  They  must  surely 
be  your  favourites,  too  ?t 

His  music,  or  his  way  of  writing,  often  reminds  me 
of  his  charming  rhymes,  and,  now  that  I  remember, 
I  particularly  want  you  to  save  up  all  his  Christmas 
verses  this  year  for  me  to  read. 

I  have  suddenly  decided  to  send  you  a  few  songs. 

*  '  Modest ' — in  reference  to  a  quibble  he  had  once  had  over  the 
word  with  Frau  von  Hcrzogenberg,  and  also  with  a  view  to  damping 
her  expectations. 

f  Ducts  for  soprano  and  tenor,  with  pianoforte  accompaniment, 
Op.  38.  Brahms  specifies  No.  i,  Die  Waise;  No.  2,  Begegnung;  No.  8, 
Aolsharfen  ;  No.  9,  Im  Abcndrot.  Herzogcnbcrg  named  the  new  house 
he  built  for  his  wife  at  Heiden,  on  Lake  Constance,  after  the  last  of 
these.    She  died  before  it  was  finished. 


'CARMEN'  187 

I  hardly  know  whether  to  ask  you  to  forward  them  to 
Simrock?* 

Perhaps  you  will  favour  me  with  your  candid 
opinion  of  them  ?  I  am  also  sending  a  very  beautiful 
thing  of  Muffat'Sjt  which  you  may  not  know.  I  now 
have  the  original  edition,  so  do  not  need  the  copy. 

Besides  which  I  am  asking  Simrock  to  send  you  one 
of  my  very  special  favourites.  {  I  can't  get  it  here  in 
its  original  garb  (that  is,  language),  and  have  never 
seen  it  at  your  house.  If  you  should  fail  to  share  my 
enthusiasm,  I  shall  be  happy  to  tuck  it  under  my  arm 
and  carry  it  off  again  in  February. — With  kindest 
regards,  yours,  j^  Brahms. 

128.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  January  6,  1884. 

Dear  Friend, — I  am  at  last  writing  to  thank  you  in 
due  form  for  sending  the  songs,  which  we  were  so 
delighted  to  have.  It  is  really  too  nice  of  you  to  think 
of  such  a  thing  in  the  thick  of  your  winter  campaign, 
even  going  to  the  trouble  of  tying  up  and  addressing 

■^  For  the  purpose  of  publication.  They  were  the  six  Licder  unci 
Romanzen  fur  vierstimmigen  gcmischten  Chor,  a  capella,  Op.  93a. 

+  Georg  Muffat  (1645-1704),  famous  in  his  day  as  an  organ 
composer.  The  Passacaglia  in  G  was  from  his  Apparatus  Mtisico- 
organisticus.  Brahms  admired  it  very  much,  and  had  copied  it  out 
for  his  own  use. 

X  Bizet's  Carmen,  for  which  Brahms  had  at  first  conceived  a 
violent  dislike,  on  account  of  its  unconcerned  mingling  of  tragedy 
and  Hght  comedy.  But  the  French  composer's  wealth  of  melody, 
and  his  broad  treatment  of  his  subject,  soon  triumphed  over  Brahms's 
aesthetic  scruples,  and  the  consciousness  of  having  been  unjust  (if 
only  in  thought)  to  an  inspired  musician  helped  to  drive  him  to  the 
other  extreme.  He  never  wavered  afterwards  in  his  love  for  Carmen, 
which  even  usurped  the  place  of  Die  weisse  Dame  in  his  affections 
at  ti  mes. 


i88  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  parcel  yourself.  But  it  is  the  fact  of  your  remem- 
bering Humboldtstrasse  (appreciative  it  undoubtedly 
is !)  that  most  touched  us.  I  will  confess,  in  com- 
pliance with  your  request  for  a  'candid  opinion,'  that 
we  do  not  like  all  the  songs  equally  well.  There  are 
certain  passages  to  which  I  cannot  reconcile  myself  at 
all.  Indeed,  I  aired  my  opinions  as  brazenly  as  any 
old  carping  critic,  though  I  tore  up  all  I  had  written 
in  the  end,  for  *  what  does  it  matter  toyou  ?  It  matters 
nothing  to  you,'  as,  fortunately,  I  was  able  to  see. 

Fahr  wohl  is  very  graceful  and  pleasing,  so  are 
Susser  Mai  and  Mddchen,*  particularly  the  entries  of 
the  solo  Mddchen.  Taken  all  together,  the  gentler 
songs  appeal  most  to  me.  Even  in  Fahr  wohl  there 
is  one  place  which  does  not  seem  at  all  like  you,  but 
you  will  probably  laugh,  and  bring  me  to  reason.  How 
I  am  looking  forward  to  the  good  month  February ! 

The  symphony  has  practically  robbed  us  of  sleep. 
Everyone  sends  us  cruelly  gushing  letters,  describing 
it  as  grander  and  more  perfectly  lovely  than  its  two 
predecessors,  while  we  sit  here  holding  our  empty 
cup,  and  with  no  immediate  prospect  of  seeing  it  filled. 
Joachim  had  it  with  him  when  he  was  playing  quartets 
here,  but  was  too  conscientious  to  show  it  us  !  Fortu- 
nately, we  only  heard  of  it  later,  or  we  should  have 
given  him  no  peace.  You  can  imagine  how  pleased 
we  were  that  Joachim  did  a  new  quartet  of  Heinrich's 
in  Berlin  and  here.  I  wish  you  had  heard  it  too,  for, 
as  one  can  always  say  with  the  old  peasant  woman  : 
Mettez-y  voire  main^  il  n'y  manquera  plus  rien.\     It  is 

*  Lieder  unci  Romanzen,  Op.  93a,  Nos.  4,  3,  2. 

t  Herzogcnberg's  string  quartet  was  published,  together  with  the 
two  earlier  ones,  by  Rieter-Biedcrmann  as  Op.  42.  The  three  are 
dedicated  to  seinem  hochvcrchrtcn  Frcunde  Johannes  Brahms. 


^CARMEN'  189 

only  when  you  approve  of  anything  he  does  that 
Heinrich  feels  like  my  uncle,  the  Geheimrat,  who  woke 
in  the  night,  and  said  to  his  wife :  '  Rosa,  I  am  **  Your 
Excellency'"!  (His  new  dignity  dated  from  the  day 
before.)  Joachim  was  unusually  simple  and  charming 
this  time,  and  his  two  fine  bo3^s  are  so  becoming  to 
him!  But  a  man's  sons  are  indeed  his  best  adorn- 
ment !  .  .  . 

Once  more  many  thanks  for  the  songs  (I  may  keep 
them  until  you  come  ?),  also  for  the  delightful  Muffat 
and  your  very  special  favourite,  who  is  in  good  hands 
with  me.  I  have  no  quarrel  with  the  music,  but 
only  with  the  horrible  shock  one  receives  on  first 
seeing  Carmen^  and  the  tactlessness  of  springing  that 
tragic  ending  on  an  unsuspecting  audience  tuned  to 
comedy.* 

Prince  Reuss  f  passed  through  yesterday,  and, 
although  he  is  going  to  be  married,  took  a  keen 
interest  in  your  exclusively  'bachelor'  music, {  to 
Heinrich's  delight.  I,  meantime,  was  condemned  to 
make  an  unfortunate  pupil's  life  a  burden  to  her. 

I  shall  waste  no  New  Year  wishes  on  you,  for  you 
want  nothing — or  at  worst  a  copyist  who  is  a  model  of 
neatness ;  but  our  New  Year  wish  for  ourselves  is  that 
you  may  still  spare  us  a  little  affection,  and  add  much 
that  is  new  to  the  old  store. — Ever  your  faithful 

Herzogenbergs. 

*  Her  aesthetic  instinct  was  not  at  fault,  but  she  was  too  open- 
minded  to  reject  the  good  with  the  bad. 
t  See  Letter  103,  note. 
X  See  Letter  127. 


190  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

129.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  yawwary  11,  1884.] 

Dear  Friend, — So  far  as  I  know,  you  neither  possess 
this  book  *  nor  know  of  it.  I  imagine  it  should  interest 
you  considerably,  and  enable  you  to  forget  the  volu- 
minous Bohmet  with  great  speed.  I  shall  enjoy  going 
through  it  with  you  at  Leipzig ;  it  will  be  as  good  as 
a  country  ramble. 

In  about  a  week  I  hope  to  send  you  the  too,  too 
famous  F  major,  in  a  two-piano  arrangement,  from 
Wiesbaden.  The  reputation  it  has  acquired  makes 
me  want  to  cancel  all  my  engagements.^ — Very  sin- 
cerely yours, 

J.  Br. 

1 30.  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Many  thanks  for  the  pleasant 
surprise.  The  book  is  delicious,  and  it  is  so  good  of 
you  to  think  of  me  and  take  me  in  hand  at  all  this 
distance.  My  conversion  was  an  easier  matter  than 
you  thought,  for,  compared  with  this  sweet  outpouring 
of  melodies,  Bohme's  collection  already  seems  to  me 
more  like  a  frozen  ditch,  which  has  first  to  be  hacked 

*  An  old  collection  of  German  volkslieder. 

t  Bohme's  Altdeutsches  Liederbuch  (cf.  Letter  62,  note,  and  Kalbeck, 
Life  of  Brahms,  i.  390). 

I  After  the  first  performance  of  this  symphony  (No.  3  in  F)  in 
Vienna  on  December  2,  1883,  a  veritable  triumph  for  the  composer, 
various  daily  papers  and  periodicals  had  asserted  that  not  only  did 
it  far  outshine  its  predecessors,  but  also  that  it  was  the  best  thing 
Brahms  had  ever  produced.  Brahms  was  exceedingly  annoyed  by 
this  extravagant  and  unjust  praise,  especially  as  it  raised  expectations 
which  he  thought  could  not  be  fulfilled.  He  conducted  the  symphony 
at  Wiesbaden,  where  it  had  been  written,  on  January  18,  1884. 


THE  THIRD  SYMPHONY  191 

before  the  poor  little  blossoms  can  be  dug  out  of  the 
mud.  Or  shall  I  compare  it  to  a  naturalist's  cabinet, 
in  which  the  wretched  little  birds,  preserved  in  arsenic, 
look  at  one  so  stupidly  with  their  glass  eyes  ?  But  we 
can  decide  this  when  we  meet — that  is,  if  we  Herzo- 
genbergs  have  room  for  a  thought  of  anything  but  the 
all-famous  F  major ! 

By  the  way,  should  you  have  any  objection  to  con- 
ducting the  B  flat  concerto  for  little  Julius  Rontgen  on 
that  occasion  ?  We  should  think  it  very  graceful  of 
you,  as  we  can  easily  imagine  the  dear  boy's  delight. 
We  are  also  endeavonring  to  include  the  Rhapsody, 
an  overture,  and  a  few  songs  and  piano  pieces  by 
Brahms.  You  need  only  give  your  blessing,  and  be 
very  nice  in  making  allowances  for  us  all.  Then  it 
will  be  a  real  festival  for  us  and  for  the  greater  part 
of  the  audience,  who  are  only  waiting  for  a  sign  from 
above  (Limburger,  etc.)  to  render  unto  Caesar  that 
which  is  Caesar's. 

We  cannot  watch  Engelmann's  departure  to  Wies- 
baden without  a  pang;*  not  that  we  grudge  it  him, 
Heaven  knows ;  but  we  wish  we  could  go  too. 

Oh,  and  please  remember  to  send  the  two-piano 
symphony.  Prince  Reuss  made  us  crazy  with  a  few 
fragments  of  it.  You  yourself  might  come  with  it,  or 
at  least  as  soon  as  you  possibly  can. — With  kindest 
regards  from  the  impatient  wife,  your  grateful 

Herzogenbergs. 

*■  Professor  Engelmann  had  obtained  a  long  leave  on  account  of 
his  health. 


192  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

131.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  February  11,  1884. 

Ah,  the  bitter,  bitter  parting!  We  are  in  the  act  of 
sending  away  our  dear,  dear  symphony.*  Yesterday 
was  Sunday,  when  the  parcel  should  have  been  taken 
to  post  before  eleven  o'clock,  but  I  couldn't  bear  it ! 
It  is  really  good  of  me  to  send  it  to-day,  don't  you 
think,  dear  friend  ?  Heaven  has  rewarded  me  for 
keeping  my  promise,  too,  for  I  have  managed  to 
commit  the  two  middle  movements  to  memory  most 
beautifully,  and  the  first  one  very  nearly.  So  I  can 
amuse  myself  endlessly  with  the  treasure  I  have 
stored,  though  the  remainder  bothers  me  sadly.  It  is 
now  my  very  best  friend — the  symphony — and  the 
giver  of  it  a  real  benefactor. 

Enjoy  yourself  thoroughly  at  Colognef  among  these 
enthusiastic  folk,  whose  hearts  go  out  to  you ;  but  with- 
out quite  forgetting  the  handful  of  people  in  this  cold- 
blooded city  who  would  willingly  challenge  all  the 
rest  of  your  admirers  put  together. 

And  think  of  us  to-morrow  when  the  famous  E  flat 
comes  in  in  the  first  movement.  |  That  passage  will 
live ! 

But  there — one  might  run  on  for  ever ! — Your  devoted 

Herzogenbergs. 

*  Brahms  had  conducted  the  symphony  on  February  7  at  the 
Gewandhaus,  after  which  H ermine  Spiess  sang  Schubert's  Memnon 
and  Geheimes  to  the  orchestral  accompaniment  arranged  by  Brahms, 
and  several  Brahms  songs.  On  the  day  before,  Brahms  played  his 
violin  sonata  at  the  first  concert  of  the  new  Brodsky  quartet. 

f  Brahms  conducted  the  symphony  and  the  Song  of  the  Fates  at  the 
eighth  Giirzenich  concert  on  February  12. 

%  The  romantic  horn  part,  p.  24  of  the  score,  bar  5. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  QUARTETS  193 

132.  Herzogenh erg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  March  24,  1884. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  feel  very  young  and 
foolish  to-day,  in  spite  of  my  forty  years,  as  I 
produce  my  pensiim  for  your  inspection.  I  am 
only  thankful  I  need  not  attempt  any  justification, 
either  for  my  pieces  —  which  do  not  come  into 
account  —  or  for  the  dedication.  That  part  of  it  is 
over.  * 

I  should,  however,  like  to  take  this  opportunity  of 
asking  you  to  believe  in  my  devotion  to  you,  in  my 
joyful  appropriation  of  every  one  of  your  productions 
as  a  favour  personal  to  myself.  Indeed,  I  am  no  hypo- 
crite ;  the  light  and  warmth  which  you  spread  over  the 
whole  world  would  leave  me  cold  did  I  not  feel  that 
you  had  reached  this  elevation  for  my  sake,  for  my 
own  insignificant  personal  happiness !  And  that 
makes  you  my  friend,  whether  you  will  or  no.  You 
are  so  full  of  kindness  to  me. 

Incidentally  you  light  my  own  little  path  so  lovingly 
that  I  hardly  notice  the  twilight  in  which  I  ought  to 
be  blundering,  but  brave  the  light  of  day  with 
a  whole  heap  of  things,  such  as  these  quartets.  As 
they  had  the  unusual  good  fortune  to  bear  your 
name  as  a  banner,  I  have  conceived  a  positive  respect 
for  these  my  own  children. 

Do  not  resent  my  little  speech,  dear  master.  It  is 
a  loyal  heart  which  interposes  all  this  parable  and 
hyperbole  to  screen  its  nakedness  from  you. 

My  wife,  whose  illness  put  an  end  to  our  Dresden 

*  The  reference  is   to  the  three   string  quartets   mentioned   in 
Letter  128. 

13 


194  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

pilgrimage,*  and — almost — to  all  the  joy  of  my  life,  has 
at  last  taken  a  turn.  We  are  even  making  plans  for 
the  future,  though  she  will  hardly  be  able  to  put  her 
nose  out  of  doors  before  the  middle  of  April. 

She  sends  the  gayest  messages,  as  convalescents  are 
apt  to  do. — In  unwavering  devotion,  yours, 

Herzogenberg. 


133.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  March  28,  1884.] 

Dear  Friend, — What  a  lot  of  good  things  at  once — 
the  good  news  of  your  wife  and  the  dedication !  I 
hardly  know  which  pleases  me  more,  the  pieces  dedi- 
cated or  the  dedication  itself.  Both  have  exceeded 
my  anticipations,  for  I  had  looked  forward  to  seeing 
my  name  on  one  quartet  —  and  behold  it  is  on  all 
three ! 

I  knew  I  could  count  on  enjoying  the  music,  and  my 
enjoyment  is  so  great  that  I  really  hesitate  to  say  any- 
thing just  at  once.  I  am  so  ready  to  praise,  and  you 
to  turn  suspicious,  I  fear!  One  thing  is  certain;  this 
great  opus  is  your  best,  and  whenever  your  wife's 
enthusiasm  finds  vent  in  playing  it  through,  be  sure 
that  I  am  happy  to  follow  her  from  beginning  to  end. 

Ah  yes,  the  dear  wife !  What  were  the  whole 
dedication,  had  she  not,  with  her  usual  kindness, 
consented  to  get  well? 

*  A  succession  of  concerts  devoted  to  Brahms's  music  was  given  in 
Dresden,  March  5-10.  On  the  5th  Brahms  conducted  his  Rhapsodic 
(H ermine  Spiess  being  the  soloist),  and  the  final  chorus  from  Rinaldo  ; 
on  the  7th  his  new  symphony  (No.  3);  while  Biilow  played  the 
Pianoforte  Sonata  in  F  minor  on  the  loth.  Frau  Herzogenberg's 
serious  illness  prevented  their  going. 


BEETHOVEN'S  CANTATAS  195 

To  you  it  would  have  meant  the  loss  of  everything, 
and  even  to  others,  her  friends,  something  of  the  best 
in  life. 

If  your  spirits  go  on  rising,  and  you  care  to  write, 
let  me  know.  Have  they  recommended  a  Bad^  or  can 
you  look  forward  to  your  new  house  ?  I  think  of  going 
to  Ischl ;  we  must  meet  there  in  the  summer. 

I  have  here  on  my  table  two  of  Beethoven's  cantatas 
which  no  one  can  have  seen  for  at  least  fifty  years — 
hardly,  indeed,  since  they  were  written  in  1790 — one 
on  the  death  of  Joseph  H.,  the  other  on  the  enthrone- 
ment of  Leopold  n.  And  you  might  have  had  them 
from  a  Leipzig  antiquarian  the  other  day !  The 
F  major  part  from  the  finale  to  Leonore  is  introduced 
in  the  former!* 

Once  more  my  very  hearty  thanks.  I  am  just  going 
to  play  it,  much  better,  on  the  piano,  and  shall  think 
of  you  both  affectionately. — Ever  yours, 

J.  Brahms. 


1 34.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Leipzig,  A'pril  10,  1884. 

Dear  Friend, — I  have  to  break  to  you  the  sad  news 
that   Chrysander's  eldest  son,  who  was  serving  his 

*  The  cantatas,  written  out  by  a  contemporary  copyist,  had  been 
presented  to  Brahms  by  Eduard  HansUck,  who  had  received  them 
from  an  admirer,  Armin  Friedmann,  who  in  his  turn  had  them  from 
an  antiquarian  in  Leipzig.  Hanslick  was  just  going  to  Karlsbad  for 
his  health,  and  left  them  with  Brahms.  Brahms's  letter  in  reply  was 
of  extraordinary  length  for  him,  and  was  obviously  intended  to  be 
made  public.  It  is  typical  of  his  attitude  towards  the  fashion  of 
printing  everything  bearing  a  distinguished  name,  and  has  been 
included  in  Hanslick's  musical  essays,  published  in  1899  under  the 
title  Am  Eiide  des  Jahrhundcrts  (see  pp.  379-383). 

13—2 


196  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

year*  here,  died  the  night  before  last  in  the  military 
hospital.  He  had  outgrown  his  strength,  and  suc- 
cumbed to  a  violent  inflammation  of  the  lungs  in 
a  few  days.  His  poor  father  came  too  late  to  see  him 
alive.  He  was  all  alone ;  his  brother,  who  had  been 
here,  was  home  for  the  Easter  holidays. 

Heinrich  has  just  gone  with  Spitta,  who  has  been 
here  some  days,  to  Chrysander,  to  accompany  him  to 
the  station,  where  he  is  to  meet  the  coffin  and  take  it 
home  by  a  night  train. 

We  are  all  quite  heart-broken,  and  can  think  of 
nothing  else.  He  was  such  a  dear,  promising  fellow, 
the  joy  and  pride  of  his  father,  who  saw  in  him  not 
only  a  son,  but  a  spiritual  heir.  He  had  so  often  said 
to  Spitta,  in  speaking  of  him,  that  he  would  know  just 
what  to  do  when  his  father  died,  and  could  carry  on 
his  work  to  completion.! 

The  old  problem  presents  itself:  'Wherefore  is 
light  given  to  him  that  is  in  misery  ?'|  while  this  youth 
is  cut  down  on  the  threshold  of  life  ! 

The  sight  of  such  grief  makes  one  almost — almost ! — 
wonder  whether  the  superficial  people  are  right  who 
say  it  is  better  to  have  no  children  to  lose. 

I  know  you  will  sympathize  deeply,  and  your 
sympathy  will  mean  much  to  the  poor  father.  I 
thought  I  would  let  you  know  at  once. 

Your  very,  very  kind  letter  was  a  great  joy  both  to 
Heinrich  and  myself. 

You  would  not  believe  how  many  times  we  read  it. 

Recovery  is  delightful  in  any  case,  but  doubly  so 

*  Educated  men  are  usually  able  to  avoid  the  compulsory  three 
years'  service  by  serving  one  year  at  their  own  expense. — Tr. 

t  Chrysander's  Handel  biography,  of  which  the  first  half  of  the 
third  volume  had  appeared  in  1867,  remained  unfinished. 

X  Motet  by  Brahms,  Op.  74,  No.  i  (Job  iii.  20). 


THE  WIESBADEN  VACANCY  197 

when  our  best  friends  hold  out  their  hands  to  welcome 
us  back. 

But  we  realize,  too,  how  bitter  death  must  be. 

Poor  Chrysander ! 

No  more  to-day,  except  a  warm  message  of  thanks 

from 

E.  Herzogenberg. 


135.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  24,  1884.] 

My  dear  Friend, — Many  thanks  for  your  letter, 
though  it  was  indeed  a  bitter  disappointment.  I 
put  it  by  so  confidently  to  enjoy  it  undisturbed  after 
looking  through  the  rest  of  my  correspondence.  And 
then — what  a  tragedy !  Don't  you  see  now  that  it  is 
a  trifle  to  the  Deity  to  inflict  worse  punishment  than 
childlessness  !  This  poor  man  had  no  pleasure  in  life 
outside  his  work  and  his  home. 

But  I  am  writing  with  a  purpose,  and  must  ask  to 
be  excused  the  indelicacy — or  whatever  it  may  be — of 
coming  straight  to  the  point. 

I  sometimes  wonder  if  it  might  not  be  good  for  your 
health  to  leave  Leipzig,  and  settle — say,  in  Graz  ? 

In  this  case,  I  should  suggest  Wiesbaden,  with  the 
added  information  that  their  Gesangverein  is  conductor- 
less.     I  strongly  recommend  the  post  to  Heinrich. 

Wiesbaden  is  undeniably  a  watering-place,  but  there 
are  some  excellent  and  charming  people  there,  whom 
I  could  name  and  recommend  to  you.* 

The  Gesangverein  there  has  possibilities  which 
Leipzig  does  not   offer.     The  former  conductor  was 

*  Brahms  had  in  mind  principally  the  house  of  Rudolf  and  Laura 
Beckerath,  where  he  was  quite  at  home. 


198  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

not  much  good  so  far  as  I  could  judge.      There  are 

two  good  orchestras  in  the  town,  at  the  Kurhaus  and 

the  opera.     Then  consider  the  favourable  position — 

with    Frankfurt  so  near,  for  instance.      I  will   make 

inquiries  at  Wiesbaden,  in  any  case,  to  know  whether 

anyone  has  been  appointed.     And  now  I  will  stop — 

one   minute   though !    We   much    enjoyed   hearing  a 

trio  of  Heinz's  for  piano  and  strings  at  Door's*  the 

other  day.     I  hope  Epstein's  letters  are  better  to  read 

than   mine.     He   has  no  such   tiresome  and   difficult 

ones  to  write  as  the  one  I  have  to  send  to  Cologne  at 

this  moment  !t — Ever  yours  sincerely, 

J.Br. 

I  have  here,  by  the  way,  two  Beethoven  cantatas 
that  not  another  soul  knows.  They  were  written  in 
1792  on  the  death  of  Joseph  H.  and  the  enthronement 
of  Leopold  respectively.  We  Viennese  do  get  hold  of 
these  titbits  occasionally  W 


1 36.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  April  25,  1884.] 

Dear  Friend, — How  much  could  I  say  in  reply  to 
your  most  kind  letter,  had  I  but  a  tithe  of  the  fluency 
you  impute  to  Epstein !  But  how  can  I  write  with 
hampers  and  packing-cases  everywhere,  the  furniture 

*  Anton  Door  (b.  1833),  Viennese  pianist,  whose  trio-evenings  were 
very  popular. 

t  The  post  of  Director  of  the  Giirzenich  concerts  and  the  Con- 
servatorium  was  to  become  vacant  in  October  through  the  retirement 
of  Ferdinand  Hiller  (1811-1884),  and  there  were  negotiations  on  foot 
to  appoint  Brahms  successor. 

X  Brahms  had  evidently  forgotten  his  letter  on  the  subject,  written 
on  March  28. 


THE  WIESBADEN  VACANCY  199 

upside  down,  and  the  somewhat  compHcated  arrange- 
ments for  our  final  concert  on  my  hands  ? 

The  name  Wiesbaden  is  indeed  music  in  the  ears 
of  a  Leipziger.  It  really  makes  one's  brain  swim  to 
think  of  those  healthy,  joyous,  musical  women's  voices, 
and  the  tenors  with  their  high  B  flat.  It  would  be 
charming  if  you  could  find  out  casually  whether  the 
Wiesbadeners  have  waited  for  me.  The  very  climate 
for  my  precious  wife,  too !  I  really  think  I  could 
let  everything  slide :  my  new  house  into  which  I 
move  to-morrow  on  a  five  years'  lease,  the  good  old 
Bachverein,  and  all  the  delicate  threads  that  bind  me 
to  Leipzig,  taking  my  last  little  fling  at  the  eleventh 
hour,  if — there  are,  of  course,  many  *  ifs,'  but  I  could 
consider  them  later.  You  might,  however,  tell  me 
just  one  thing,  as  you  have  spent  a  summer  there. 
Does  the  Verein  get  any  rest  in  summer?  It  seems 
doubtful,  as  Wiesbaden  is  a  watering-place.  I  should 
not  much  like  selling  my  house  at  Berchtesgaden  just 
now,  when  I  am  looking  forward  to  working  there. 
But  instead  of  trespassing  on  your  kindness  with  a 
string  of  questions,  I  will  write  by  this  post  to  our 
discreet  Engelmann.  He  often  goes  to  Wiesbaden — 
has  been  there  just  now  indeed,  and  must  know  the 
ropes  more  or  less. 

Cologne  is  off,  then?*  It  is  a  pity,  as  we  might 
have  been  your  neighbours  ! 

You  cannot  conceive  of  poor  Chrysander's  misery. 
We  were  all  too  late  to  see  the  dear,  good,  tall  young 
fellow,  as  we  only  heard  of  his  illness  the  evening  before. 
And  so  it  happened  that  he  died  alone  in  hospital. 
They  had  not  even  a  bed  long  enough  for  him.  But 
old  Chrysander  has,  all  the  same,  an  iron  constitution, 
*  Brahms  had  refused  the  post. 


200  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

as  Spittaand  I  discovered  when  we  spent  the  following 
day  with  him.  Although  in  bed  to  recruit  his  strength, 
he  entertained  us  with  the  most  wonderful  auctioneer's 
tales,  and  was  full  of  all  sorts  of  plans  for  the  future. 
We  both  felt  that  the  terrible  blow  had  failed  to  crush 
him.  He  went  off  in  the  evening  with  his  sad  burden, 
and  was  worked  up  into  a  state  of  misery  that  would 
melt  a  stone,  spending  much  more  than  he  could  afford 
on  taking  his  son  home  to  the  old  village  cemetery. 
What  a  mixture  the  man  is — iron  and  gold ! 

I  write  your  address,  Karlsstrasse,  with  a  certain 
awe,  for  have  you  not  been  writing  hard  there  these 
two  months  (composing  a  couple  of  symphonies,  I 
dare  swear !)  in  enviable  possession  of  the  Beethoven 
cantatas !  We,  too,  have  our  treasures,  though  with- 
out being  able  to  enjoy  them  fully,  for  we  have  no 
piano,  being  in  a  state  of  gradual  dissolution.  For- 
tunately, however,  the  F  major*  is  still  fresh  in  our 
memories.  Simrock  kept  his  promise  nobly,  and  we 
thank  you  heartil3\ 

My  wife  still  coughs  a  good  bit,  but  is  behaving 
well  on  the  whole  and  sends  kindest  regards. 

Address — here  still. — Yours  most  sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 

137.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig,  May  5,  1884] 

GOETHESTRASSE,  Q.f 

Dear  Friend, — We  are  sending  you  the  little  portrait 
of  Felix  Mendelssohn  as  a  child,  t     Dear  Frau  Wach 

*  Symphony  in  F.  +  Written  at  the  Wachs'  house. 

X  A  reproduction  of  Wilhehn  Hensel's  pencil  drawing.  Brahms 
hked  the  serious,  expressive  face  of  the  child,  and  hung  up  the 
portrait  in  his  music-room. 


FOURTH  ITALIAN  TOUR  201 

got  it  for  us — one  of  the  few  copies  strongly  guarded 
by  the  family  *  Fafners.'  She  was  pleased  to  hear  how 
much  you  liked  it. 

Enjoy  yourself  thoroughly  the  day  after  to-morrow,* 
and  remember  how  many  people  are  made  happy  by 
your  existence  and  by  a  share  in  your  affections. 

If  you  will  let  your  kindness  and  friendship  celebrate 
as  many  happy  returns  as  those  we  wish  you,  Herr 
Doktor,  we  may  yet  live  to  sun  our  grey  hairs  in  the 
light  of  your  good-will.  Has  anything  come  of  the 
inquiries  you  promised  to  make  at  Wiesbaden  ?  Your 
letter  roused  many  expectations,  and  gave  us  much  to 
think  of.  It  seems  incongruous  just  when  we  are 
settling  into  a  new  house,  and  hammering  in  nails  as 
if  for  all  eternity.  Zeitzerstrasse  2^d  is  the  new 
address.  I  am  not  there  yet,  but  am  being  spoilt  by 
these  kind  Wachs,  who  wanted  to  spare  me  the  fatigue 
of  moving. 

Good-bye,  and  may  this  be  a  good  year  for  you — 
rich  in  treasure  for  us ! — Ever  your  old  friend, 

E.  Herzogenberg. 

Frau  Rontgen,  who  has  just  come  in,  wishes  to  be 
warmly  remembered  to  you. 

138.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  May  8,  1884.] 
Dear  Friend, — I  start  for  Italy  to-day,t  so  shall  find 
the  sweet  child-portrait  on  my  way  through  again  at 

*  His  birthday. 

I  Brahms's  fourth  tour  in  Italy  was  made  in  company  with  Rudol 
V.  d.  Leyen,  a  friend  from  Krefeld.  They  went  by  way  of  Trient 
and  Lake  Garda  to  Upper  Italy,  where  they  were  the  guests  of  the 
Duke  of  Meiningen  at  Villa  Carlotta  on  Lake  Como  (see  R.  v.  d. 
Leyen's  Johannes  Brahms  als  Mensch  und  Freund,  p.  40). 


202  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  end  of  the  month — I  have  to  go  to  DusseldorP — 
ugh  !     Very  many  thanks  for  your  kind  thought  of  me. 

Would  your  husband  care  to  make  inquiries  of 
Madame  Leonhard  Wolff  at  Wiesbaden,  mentioning 
my  name  ?  Wolff  is  a  very  nice  fellow.  He  would 
have  liked  to  secure  the  post  for  Richard  Barth,t  who 
has,  I  hear,  declined  it. 

Please  remember  me  to  your  kind  hosts. — In  haste, 

J.Br. 

Zeitzerstrasse  ?     Zeigerstrasse  ?     Zietenstrasse  ?t 


1 39.  Elisahei  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms, 

[Leipzig]  Zeitzerstrasse,  24c/  II., 
September  13,  1884. 

Dear  Friend, — I  think  I  have  been  too  backward 
this  time.  I  ought  to  have  wormed  some  crumbs  of 
news  out  of  you,  for  my  present  famished  condition 
might  have  been  avoided,  even  without  transgressing 
the  self-imposed  limits  of  my  modesty  as  a  correspon- 
dent. So  1  hope  you  will  be  generous,  and  write  me 
a  friendly  line  or  two  at  once.  Our  failure  to  meet 
this  summer  is  an  error  which  can  only  be  rectified 
next  year,  for  our  meeting  during  the  winter  is  an 
assured  thing  apart,  and  I  only  hope  we  may  have  full 
measure  this  time. 

As  you  see,  we  are  still  here,  and  have  various 
beautiful  cantatas  coming  on ;  the  44th  will  be  the 
next.     I  am  so  well  that  I  can  look  forward  to  the 

*  Brahms  conducted  his  third  symphony  and  the  Song  of  the  Fates 
at  the  Lower  Rhine  Festival. 

+  Richard  Barth  (b.  1850),  violinist  and  conductor  ;  author  of  a 
valuable  monograph,  Johannes  Brahms  unci  seine  Musik. 

%  The  Herzogenbergs'  new  address. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  PROFESSORSHIP    203 

winter  without  alarm,  though  I  shall  be  forced  to  keep 
strictly  to  a  certain  diet,  designed  to  make  me  more 
podgy  than  I  already  am. 

Nothing  came  of  the  Wiesbaden  scheme,  as  of  course 
you  realized  long  ago,  dear  Uncle  Brahms  !  Their 
affectionate  concern  for  our  welfare  was  evidently  not 
equal  to  yours.  Afterwards  we  were  glad,  for  it  trans- 
pired that  the  climate  was  much  too  relaxing  for  me,  and 
most  unsuitable  for  anyone  with  a  weak  heart.  Since 
then  we  have  had  various  other  offers,  of  which  the 
most  attractive  was  a  call  to  Berlin.  Heinrich  has,  in 
fact,  found  it  irresistible,  and  has  practically  promised 
to  present  himself,  in  due  time,  and  see  how  school- 
mastering  suits  him.*  But  an  unfortunate  misunder- 
standing (either  poor  Joachim  was  absent-minded,  or 
Heinrich  too  greedy  for  the  honour  which,  like  Julius 
Caesar,  he  had  refused  three  times !)  led  us  to  assume 
that  it  was  a  question  of  taking  it  on  in  January,  and  a 
report  to  that  effect  was  spread  far  too  rapidly.  All 
our  endeavours  to  stop  it  are  ineffectual,  and,  for  the 
first  time  in  our  lives,  we  have  incurred  the  imputation 
of  being  indiscreet  and  neither  able  to  wait  nor  to  hold 
our  tongues.  I  hope  it  will  not  come  to  the  ears  of  the 
worthy  Kiel,t  who  is  to  remain  at  his  post  this  winter, 
although  resigned  to  being  pensioned  off  soon.  If  you 
should  be  asked,  please  say  that  you  know  us  to  be 
more  taken  up  with  our  Bach  performances  here  than 
ever — *  Abide  with  us 't  being  one  on  the  list. 

*  Herzogenberg  had  been  offered  the  post  of  Principal  of  the 
Academischc  Meisterschule  for  composition,  and  director  of  the 
theoretical  side  at  the  Hochschule,  together  with  the  title  of 
Professor. 

t  Friedrich  Kiel  {1821-1885),  composer  and  theorist,  Herzogenbcrg's 
predecessor  at  the  Hochschule. 


204  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

And,  really,  Leipzig  does  not  seem  so  bad,  viewed 
in  the  treacherous  light  of  a  vague  melancholy  at 
parting,  and  enhanced  by  the  great  comfort  of  our  new 
house.  I  hope  you  will  soon  come  and  give  our  spare 
room  a  look  of  having  been  used.  You  promised  us 
so  many  Christmas  treats  at  Wiesbaden,  and  little  as 
I  grudge  our  dear  Engelmann  all  these  good  things  in 
his  year  of  holiday  (of  which  we  were  all  so  glad  to 
hear),  you  must  spare  us  something  too,  and  not 
deprive  us  of  the  oft-repeated  favour  of  looking  at  some 
beloved  new  work  avant  la  lettre.  Two  years  ago  you 
were  particularly  good  about  the  F  major  quintet,  and 
it  seems  to  me  you  might  rejoice  my  heart  with  some- 
thing new  again.  I  consider  I  am  not  undeserving, 
for  do  I  not  acknowledge  it  to  be  my  greatest  pleasure, 
and  have  I  not  left  you  in  peace  ever  so  long,  piously 
contenting  myself  with  silent  raptures  over  Magelone 
and  the  Serenades  !^  And  when  have  you  promised  to 
come  in  response  to  Herr  Limburger's  entreaties  ?  .  .  . 

Good-bye  for  to-day,  and  please  let  fly  a  leaflet 
which  will  bring  you  vividly  before  us.  You  may 
leave  the  famous  post-card  addressed  to  us,  which  is 
supposed  to  be  lying  in  your  writing-case,  for  another 
time 

Lina  Rontgen  played  your  D  minor  concerto,  at  the 
first  Gewandhaus  yesterday,  with  such  delight  and 
enthusiasm  that  it  was  a  pleasure  to  hear  her.  Fare- 
well, remember  us,  and  let  us  hear  from  you. 

E.  Herzogenberg. 

*  Brahms's  songs  from  Tieck's  Magelone,  Op.  33,  and  the  Serenade?!, 
Op.  II  and  16. 


MEZZO-PIANO  205 

140.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg, 

[MtJRZzuscHLAG,  October ,  1884.] 

Dearest  Friend, — I  have  to  go  back  to  Vienna 
to-morrow  morning,  and  have  no  time  to  answer  your 
kind  letter  properly.  I  just  wish  to  say  that  I  will 
subscribe  £2^  for  our  friend.*  I  understand  nothing 
about  money  matters,  but  if  they  keep  to  their  decision 
of  only  giving  him  the  interest,  and  should  the  sum 
collected  be  very  moderate,  I  would  send  another 
£2^  on  condition  that  this  second  half  went  to  him 
direct. 

Besides   my  thanks   I   have   really  nothing  worth 

sending  in  reply,  for  even  this,t  which  I  enclose  by 

way  of  a  greeting,  is  in  the  publisher's  hands.     But  I 

will  see  that  he  does  not  inflict  a  copy  on  you  as  well ! 

— With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.Br. 

141.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  October  21,  1884.] 

Some  precocious  person  wrote  protesting  against 
the  use  of  w/,  mezzo-piano^X  in  the  course  of  the  summer. 
Do  me  the  favour — seriously ! — and  get  the  notice  for 
me.  Who  wrote  it,  and  where  did  it  appear  ?  Prob- 
ably in  Fritzsch's  paper  ;§  you  might  ask  him  first. 
Too  much  of  this  foolishness  goes  unnoticed.    My  name 

*  The  paragraph  suppressed  in  the  preceding  letter  contained  an 
eloquent  description  of  a  poor  musician  in  great  straits  through  no 
fault  of  his  own. 

t  The  manuscript  of  Gestillte  Sehnsucht,  Op.  91,  No.  i. 

X  In  Emil  Breslaur's  music-teachers'  periodical  Dcr  Klavicrlchrer, 
Brahms  was  fond  of  using  mp  to  denote  a  fine  shade  between 
'  mezzo-forte '  and  '  piano.' 

§  Musikalischcs  Wochenblait. 


2o6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

is   not   mentioned,  but  my  weakness  for  mp  is  well 

known.     I  may  count  on  the  notice  ?     I  hope  to  hear 

about  that  business  matter  as  well.*     Thanks  for  the 

last  letter — soon  to  be  last  but  one,  I  hope. — Sincerely 

yours, 

J.  Br. 

142.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

My  name  is  of  course  at  your  service.  I  discussed 
the  matter  with  Hanslick  ;  he  may  not  make  it  public, 
I  suppose  ?t  Not  that  it  would  be  any  use  here,  as  I 
know,  for  our  friend  is  too  little  known. 

Don't  forget  to  hunt  up  the  article  with  the  attack 

on  mp  ! — Sincerely  yours, 

J.Br. 

143.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  October  26,  1884.] 

Dear,  dear  Friend, — You  should  have  been  thanked 
at  once  for  all  your  kindness,  but  your  most  kind 
letter,  made  doubly  precious  by  your  prompt,  noble 
sympathy  and  the  welcome  manuscript,  reached  me  in 
Berlin,  where  I  had  no  free  moment ;  and,  like  you,  I 
don't  care  to  write  post-cards  where  I  feel  letters.  But 
few  things  have  given  me  more  pleasure  than  your 
;^25.  Truly  you  are  of  the  'cheerful'  givers  whom 
*  God  loveth,'  and  the  general  attitude  in  *  high '  and 
'  highest '  circles  is,  alas  !  such  as  to  throw  yours  into 
special  relief  I  am  curious  to  know  how  much  we 
shall  collect  altogether. 

Heinz  promises  to  make  the  m,p  article  his  special 

*  The  fund  which  was  being  collected  for  a  musician, 
t  Refers  to  the  same  fund. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  207 

concern,  and  if  possible  to  unmask  the  writer.  He  has 
missed  finding  Fritzsch  twice  already.  I  believe  he  is 
always  with  his  Thekla*  That  is  my  name  for  the 
Adiophon,t  which  seems  to  be  a  great  success,  and  not 
only  with  sentimental  women, 

I  would  rather  say  nothing  about  the  alto  songt 
until  I  have  tried  it  over  thoroughly  with  the  viola. 
At  present  I  am  distracted  by  the  two  voices,  and  am 
most  in  love  with  the  exquisite  cadences,  particularly 
Wann schlaft Ihr^wann schlaft Ihr ein?  with  the  beauti- 
ful G  minor-E  major  harmonies,  and  the  way  in  which 
the  viola  catches  up  the  theme  from  the  voice.  But  that 
Lispeln  der  Winde  is  difficult  for  even  a  clever  singer. 
Why  are  you  sometimes  so  cruel  as  to  turn  poor 
women  into  oboes  or  violins?  Is  it  because  you 
begin  with  a  B,  like  a  certain  other  relentless  person  ?§ 
How  easily  Sie  lispeln  die  Welt  in  Schlummer  pours  out 
of  our  grateful  throats  immediately  after ! 

I  am  as  happy  as  a  child  (indeed,  your  gifts — yes, 
gifts ! — invariably  turn  me  into  a  child)  as  I  look  at  it 
and  try  it  over,  revel  in  it — you  know  to  what  extent ! 
Will  it  appear  in  company  with  *  Joseph^  lieber  Joseph 
mein '  ?  || 

Heinz's  kindest  regards,  and  he  would  like  to  know  if 
the  Fourth  Symphony  is  true?1[  Julius  Rontgen  de- 
clares it  is,  but  Heinz  says  you  would  never  have  kept 
anything  of  the  sort  from  us  all  this  time  ;  it  would  be 

*  Poem  by  Schiller,  composed  by  Schubert. 

t  A  piano  with  tuned  forks  in  place  of  strings,  invented  by  Fritzsch 
and  Fischer. 
X  Op.  91,  No.  I.  §  Beethoven. 

II  The  second  of  the  two  songs,  with  viola  obligato,  published  in 
1884  as  Op.  91. 

\  The  fourth  symphony  was  commenced  in  the  summer  of  1884  at 
Miirzzuschlag. 


2o8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

too  unkind  of  a  generous  person  like  you.*  We  do 
not  need  to  have  our  appetites  whetted  in  this  case. 

If  you  ever  write  that  letter  that  is  supposed  to  be 
coming,  please  say  how  Arthur  Faber  is,  and  remember 
us  very  kindly  to  them.     Also  to  Epstein,  please. 

With  all  the  old — and  much  new — grateful  affec- 
tion, your  faithful 

H  ERZOGENBERGE. 

144.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg, 

[Vienna,  November  18,  1884.] 

I  can't  compete  with  you  luxurious  Leipzigers.  Five 
thousand  marks  for  the  manuscripts !  No  need  for 
an  auction !  And  the  stack  of  Klavierlehrer]  took  my 
breath  away.  Must  I  send  the  silly  stuff  back?  Of 
course  with  many  thanks  for  the  trouble  taken !  But 
who  would  keep  it  ?  Not  even  Herr  Fritzsch,  surely. 
Just  let  me  know  whether  it  may  go  into  the  paper- 
basket  of — yours  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

145.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  November  21,  1884.] 

I  am  far  more  grateful  for  your  long  letters 
than  you  might  think.  Please  consider  my  purse 
quite  at  your  disposal.  The  mp  in  the  Klavierlehrer 
has  developed  into  so  vast  a  puddle  that  one  can  only 
beat  a  hasty  retreat.     Probably  I  happened  to  see  just 

*  Brahms  was  never  known  to  discuss  his  plans  or  his  com- 
positions while  they  were  in  progress,  but  this  did  not  prevent  the 
wildest  guesses  and  conclusions  on  the  part  of  others.  Rontgen 
could  only  have  learned  the  fact  by  the  merest  chance. 

t  Copies  of  the  Bach  cantatas,  written  out  in  Brahms's  own 
writing,  had  been  offered  for  sale. 


MEZZO-PIANO  209 

one  number  that  summer.  Many  thanks  to  Herr 
Fritzsch,*  whose  paper  seems  very  fine  and  classical 
by  contrast — in  spite  of  St.  Kolf  !t 

Heckmann  is  doing  your — our  quartett  (No.  i)  to- 
day. His  first  concert  made  a  most  favourable  impres- 
sion.    It  will  be  very  good. — Sincerely  yours, 

J.  Br. 

146.  Brahms  to     ersogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December  i,  1884.] 

Dear  Friend, — Just  a  hasty  line.  I  have  concerts 
every  day,  not  only  in  Vienna,  and  not  only  those  at 
which  I  play,  but  some  at  which  I  have  only  to  listen, 
which  is  very  exhausting  !§  I  expect  to  leave  here  on 
the  4th  for  Hamburg,  etc.  But  I  have  to  send  you 
1,750  marks  more  for  our  purpose.  || 

I  should  like  to — and  would  really — write  at  length 
about  your  quartet :  how  well  the  Heckmanns  played 
it,  and  how  much  I  enjoyed  it,  but  it  really  is  not 
possible.  The  other  day  I  was  just  off  to  Pesth  ; 
to-day  to  a  concert.  I  sincerely  hope  to  see  you  on 
my  way  home  through  Leipzig  in  due  time.  My 
address  at  Hamburg  is  Cafe  Moser  (Rathausmarkt), 
or  at  Simrock's. 

Perhaps  you  will  send  me  a  line. — Yours  most 
sincerely,  j^  ^^ 

*  Herzogenberg  had  ordered  a  whole  year  of  the  periodical  through 
Fritzsch  (see  Letter  141). 

t  J.  van  Santen  Kolff,  a  contributor  to  the  Musikalisches  Wochenblatt, 
who  had  written  a  series  of  essays  on  Erinnerungsmotiv-Leitmotiv. 

J  In  G  minor,  Op.  42,  dedicated  to  Brahms.  Robert  Heckmann's 
quartet  evenings  soon  became  a  popular  institution. 

§  Biilow's  tour  with  the  Meininger  orchestra  in  November  and 
December  included  concerts  in  Vienna,  Buda-Pesth,  and  Graz,  at 
which  Brahms  played  his  B  flat  major  concerto. 

II  Towards  the  fund  mentioned  in  Letter  150. 

14 


210  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

147.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  Zeitzerstrasse,  24, 
December  4,  1884. 

Dear  Friend, — Many  thanks  for  your  last  card,  and 
yesterday's  note,  from  which  we  gather  that  you  will 
have  to  pass  through  Leipzig  before  long,  and  are 
so  good  as  to  like  the  prospect.  We  should  be  still 
happier  if  you  could  tell  us  the  date,  if  only  approxi- 
mately. For,  about  the  8th  or  loth  we  are  expecting 
Hildebrand,  the  sculptor,  to  stay,  and  we  prefer  to 
avoid  'false  relations/  as  we  have  the  skill  neither 
of  Bach  nor  of  Brahms  in  dealing  with  them.  The 
said  sculptor  is  coming  to  learn  Frau  Schumann  by 
heart,  with  a  view  to  modelling  her  (it  fell  through 
once  before),  and  to  take  his  fill  of  the  music  he  cannot 
get  at  Florence.  He  might  hear  plenty  on  the  three 
festival  days*  if  he  can  gain  admittance  to  the  concert- 
hall,  but  there  is  the  difficulty !  He  will  have  practi- 
cally to  produce  a  certificate  of  good  behaviour,  like 
Tamino,  and  above  all  an  assurance  of  his  discretion  ; 
for  so  many  of  the  old  season-ticket  holders  have  been 
turned  away  that  exception  in  favour  of  a  new-comer 
can  only  be  made  secretly.  There  is  great  excitement 
among  the  public  and  the  directors.  It  is  to  be  hoped 
that  they  will  finally  produce  something  to  justify 
it  all.  The  third  evening  is  bound  to  be  good,  but 
it  is  a  question  whether  Handel's  Messiah  (Robert 
Franz)t  and  the  Choral  Symphony  will  go  much  better 
than  usual. 

Your  1,750  marks  are  just  to  hand.     We  envy  you 

*  To    inaugurate    the    opening    of    the    new    Gewandhaus    on 
December  11,  12,  and  13. 

t  Robert  Franz's  edition  of  the  Messiah. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  QUARTET  211 

the  fine  harvest  you  have  reaped.  Ours  is  so  much 
poorer,  in  spite  of  all  our  efforts  and  the  various 
appeals  in  writing  which  I  have  perpetrated. 

Tell  me,  wasn't  Heinrich's  quartet  a  failure  in 
Vienna?  We  realized  it  perfectly  from  a  post-card 
Heckmann  kindly  sent.  However,  it  did  not  trouble 
Heinrich  at  all.  The  ^ one  person  who  matters'  said 
he  had  enjoyed  it,  and  that  being  so,  one  can  afford 
to  be  indifferent  to  Viennese  opinion  in  general.  It 
would  be  tragic  enough  if  it  were  the  other  wa}^  round. 

Is  it  true  that  you  are  writing  a  'cello  concerto  ?* 
And  why  are  you  so  uncommunicative,  so  doubly 
uncommunicative,  when  you  know  how  much  we 
should  enjoy  it  in  expectation  ?  It  is  very  unkind 
of  you.  I  feel  rather  like  Limburger  when  I  press  you 
for  something  new,  while  there  is  so  much  one  may 
still  learn  from  the  old,  not  to  speak  of  one's  affection 
for  the  things.  Indeed,  one  is  always  being  drawn 
to  them  afresh  by  the  discovery  of  new  beauties.  In 
the  G  major  sextet  the  other  day,  beautifully  played  by 
Brodsky  and  his  colleagues,  I  heard  much  that  had 
been  hidden  before.  It  is  like  having  a  flashlight 
turned  on  first  one  place,  then  another,  all  the  dis- 
coveries going  to  enrich  the  precious  inner  store. 
That  was  Heinrich's  case  when  he  heard  the  Requiem 
(lucky  man !  I  could  not  go)  and  sat  with  his  nose  in 
the  score  all  the  next  day.  He  could  not  calm  down 
at  all,  and  insisted  again  and  again  that  it  was  not 
sufficiently  acknowledged  as  an  events  and  that  people 
did  not  realize  it  as  they  ought. 

But  I  must  stop.  Have  a  good  time  at  Hamburg 
and  everywhere  else,  and  let  us  know  if  you  are  likely 

*  One  of  the  many  false  reports  spread  about  Brahms's  work. 

14 — 2 


212  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

to  touch  Leipzig,  so  that  we  may  *  exalt  every  valley  ' 

as  far  as  possible.     Farewell.     Be  our  friend  now  and 

always  ! — Your  faithful 

Herzogenbergs. 


148.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  Zeitzerstrasse, 
December  29,  1884. 

Dear  kind  Father  Christmas, — You  cannot  think 
how  delighted  we  were  by  your  surprise  visit.  We 
are  taciturn  folk  with  small  skill  in  demonstrating  our 
feelings  by  pretty  speeches,  but  we  hope  you  were  not 
blind  to  the  warm  reception  our  hearts  gave  you. 
Just  at  this  time  too,  when  one  is  greedy  for  good 
things,  your  visit  was  the  very  best  thing  that  could 
happen  to  us.  And  let  me  add  a  word  of  special 
thanks  for  your  angelic  patience  when  the  whole  house 
was  upset,  the  spare-room  crammed  so  full  of  Christmas 
things  that  there  was  hardly  room  for  the  good 
Brahms,  and  you  had  to  make  shift  with  that  treacherous 
sofa  the  first  evening.  It  all  went  to  show,  along  with 
your  other  good  deeds,  what  a  nice  person  you  are, 
and  how  kindly  disposed  towards  ourselves.  All  the 
beauty  of  the  Christmas  days  departed  with  you,  and 
the  usual  tiring  round  set  in.  There  was  the  tiresome 
Russian  soiree,  which  passed  without  bloodshed,  but 
left  an  unpleasant  taste  behind,  as  is  always  the  way 
when  one  has  no  real  interest  in  a  thing.  I  called 
on  the  Brodskys  yesterday,  and  told  them  you  had 
been  here.  *  It  is  true,  then  I'  they  exclaimed.  Little 
Novacek*  had  seen  *  him  '  in  the  Zeitzerstrasse,  and 
was  lamenting  that  he  happened  to  be  on  the  opposite 

*  Ottokar  NovaSek  (b.  1866),  violinist  and  composer. 


CHRISTMAS  AT  LEIPZIG  213 

pavement,  whereupon  Brodsky  had  stormed,  and 
wished  he  had  been  in  Novacek's  place.  '  Fools  have 
all  the  luck,'  he  declared.  And  when  I  saw  the  genuine 
disappointment  of  this  devoted  admirer  of  yours,  I  was 
really  sorry  I  had  given  him  no  opportunity  of  meeting 
you.  I  came  to  the  conclusion  that  you  must  not 
be  allowed  to  go  off  in  such  haste  another  time,  leaving 
your  many  friends  to  feel  they  have  been  done  out  of 
seeing  you.  You  are  sure  to  be  giving  concerts  up  or 
down  the  Rhine  during  the  winter,  so  do  make  us 
happy  once  more.  I  promise  you  a  better  time  than 
the  last,  and  you  shall  never  have  that  silly  little  glass 
for  your  marsala*  again  I  Also,  there  is  plenty  of 
Brahms-wine  left. 

We  are  at  last  to  have  a  chance,  this  week,  of  trying 
the  alto  songs  with  viola ;  players  are  notoriously 
scarce  in  this  city  of  music ! 

There  was  something  I  forgot  the  other  day.  Little 
Professor  Bischoff  of  Graz  has  been  begging  for  years 
for  a  scrap  of  your  manuscript,  but,  as  I  am  too  stingy 
with  my  own  few  treasured  specimens,  I  can't  be 
expected  to  give  him  any.  So  do  please  remember 
the  poor  man,  who  is  one  of  the  true  music-lovers,  not 
the  doubtful  connoisseur  type.  Perhaps  you  will  send 
something  along  with  my  boldly  demanded  Christmas 
present  (the  songs)  ?  Since  you  are  our  benefactor, 
a  little  more  or  less  makes  no  difference !  We  are 
past  modesty,  and  only  ask  to  remain  your 

Debtors. 

*  Brahms  was  very  fond  of  this  wine,  which  reminded  him  of 
Sicily. 

t  Ferdinand  Bischof,  to  whom  Herzogenberg  dedicated  his  Vier 
Gesdnge,  Op.  40. 


214  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

They  are  playing  a  much-praised  symphony  (in 
manuscript)  of  Bruckner's*  to-morrow.  What  do  you 
think  of  this  amazing  person  ? 


149.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

Dear  Friend, — Accept  my  profound  thanks  for  the 
half-crown  and  everything  else  besides.  To  save 
writing  too  many  letters,  I  will  send  you  a  speci- 
men of  my  Scarlattisf  which  may  interest  you  —  it 
charms  me  1 

Your  orders  concerning  Professor  Bischof  shall 
receive  prompt  attention. 

I  promised  you  the  first  volume  of  Schubert|  (the 
first  four  symphonies),  but  Hartels  have  only  sent  me 
one  copy.  But  don't  think  of  buying  it ;  only  tell  me  if 
you  really  want  it.  You  will  certainly  have  an 
opportunity  of  looking  at  them,  and  it  seems  to  me 

*  Anton  Bruckner  (1827-1896),  a  much-feted  Austrian  composer, 
whose  works  gave  rise  to  considerable  controversy.  Nikisch  was 
conducting  his  seventh  symphony  at  a  '  special '  concert  at  the 
opera-house. 

t  Besides  the  rare  Czerny  edition  of  Scarlatti,  Brahms  owned 
several  of  the  sonatas  in  the  original  edition,  and  over  300  old  copies 
of  the  Klaviersiiicke,  amongst  them  172  unpubhshed  pieces  from  the 
famous  collection  of  Abbate  Santini. 

X  Brahms  had  undertaken  the  revision  of  Schubert's  symphonies 
for  the  complete  edition,  published  by  Breitkopf  and  Hartel,  a  re- 
sponsibility he  afterwards  regretted.  His  objections  to  the  posthumous 
publication  of  inferior  compositions,  which  the  composer  is  no  longer 
able  to  defend,  are  expressed  with  great  plainness  in  a  letter  to 
Marie  Lipsius  (La  Mara),  written  in  May,  1885  (see  La  Mara, 
Musikerbriefe  aus  fiinf  Jahrhunderten,  ii.  348).  But  when  the  ten 
volumes  of  Schubert's  songs  appeared  (edited  by  Mandyczewski),  he 
changed  his  mind,  and  regretted  the  superficial  way  in  which  he 
had  fulfilled  his  share  of  the  work,  as  much  as  his  declaration  that 
there  was  no  sense  in  publishing  these  examples  of  an  early  stage 
of  the  composer's  development. 


BRUCKNER'S  CLAIMS  215 

unnecessary  to  possess  all  these  things  and  have  so 
much  superfluous  stuff"  lying  round.  For  the  same 
reason  I  am  loth  to  send  you  the  desired  bad  songs ! 

So  Wiesbaden  is  again  on  the  cards.  I  need  not 
dwell  on  it,  as  you  will  be  seeing  the  Engelmanns,*  who 
can  tell  you  everything. 

No  more  to-day. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.Br. 

150.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Dear  Friend, — The  dear  old  songs,  your  Christmas 
present,  reached  us  yesterday.  I  could  almost  thank 
the  unknown  person  who  stole  our  original  copy  for 
the  pleasure  it  gives  me  to  receive  them  again  from 
you.  I  feel  quite  sentimental  when  I  look  at  my  old 
friends  in  their  new  cover — their  uniform — which 
makes  it  impossible  to  distinguish  them  from  any 
of  the  others  by  the  title-page — a  modern  invention 
which,  like  many  others,  has  its  disadvantages. 

Our  friend  Hildebrand  will  have  delivered  our 
messages,  and  told  you  of  the  Bruckner  excitement 
here,  and  how  we  rebelled  against  having  him  thrust 
upon  us — like  compulsory  vaccination.  We  had  to 
endure  much  stinging  criticism — insinuations  as  to 
our  inability  to  detect  power  under  an  imperfect 
exterior,  or  admit  a  talent  which,  though  not  perhaps 
fully  developed,  still  exists,  and  has  a  claim  to  interest 
and  recognition.  We  are  not  to  consider  artistic 
results  everything,  but  to  admire  the  hidden  driving- 
power,  whether  it  succeeds  in  expressing  itself  satis- 
factorily or  no.  That  is  all  very  well  in  theory,  but 
in  practice  it  all  depends  on  the  value  of  this  driving- 

*  See  Letter  130,  note. 


2i6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

power.  Unless  it  is  very  great,  one  can  only  hold 
aloof,  and  resign  oneself  to  be  abused  of  the  philistines, 
who  have  eyes  for  beauty  only  when  it  wears  their  own 
colours.  We  wished  we  had  you  to  back  us  up,  and 
could  hear  your  sound  views,  which  are  based  on  super- 
abundant experience  and  are  therefore  worth  more 
than  all  the  theories  of  the  wise,  all  the  mere  instincts 
of  the  simple.  And,  who  knows  ?  you  may  agree  with 
us,  the  simple ;  and  that  is  what  I  particularly  want 
to  know.  It  would  be  such  a  help.  Integrity  of 
judgment  is,  to  one  of  us,  as  precious  in  the  domain 
of  art  as  in  human  jurisdiction,  and  it  oppresses  us  to 
appear  as  narrow-minded,  ungenerous,  timid  observers, 
so  afraid  of  overrating  that  they  lose  all  sense  of 
justice. 

You  must  excuse  this  letter,  which,  superfluous  as 
it  must  appear,  could  only  be  written  to  you;  for  who 
else  could  give  us  the  desired  answer?  Thank  you 
again  for  the  songs.  If  Bruckner  had  written  Krdnze^ 
or  Liebesbotschaftj  or  Die  Liebende  schreibt,  or  Abend- 
ddmmcrung^*  I  would  search  the  symphony  through 
half  a  dozen  times  for  that  hidden  gold  ;  but  I  think 
the  fact  is,  that  whoever  could  write  the  one  would 
never  be  guilty  of  the  other. 

Good-bye,  and  don't  be  hard  on  your  tormentor,  but 

answer — if  only  with  one  word. — In  old  and  renewed 

friendship,  yours, 

E.  Herzogenberg. 

I  delighted  Gouvyt  the  other  day  by  telling  him 
you  had  been  praising  his  French  songs  to  me.  He 
ordered  them  forthwith,  and  I  now  have  the  whole 

*  Brahms,  Op.  46,  No.  i  ;  Op.  47,  Nos.  i,  5  ;  Op.  49,  No.  5. 

t  Ludwig  Theodor  Gouvy  (1822- 1898),  distinguished  composer. 


GOUVY'S  SONGS  217 

fat  book  of  Ronsard  before  me.  I  was  surprised  to 
find  so  much  grace  and  vivacity  in  many  places,  being 
misled,  I  suppose,  by  his  air  of  weariness.  Yet  how 
amateurish  his  work  is  in  detail !  For  instance,  he 
never  ventures  on  this  close — 


but  always  has  recourse  to  the  horrible  chord  of  six- 
four  on  D.  Young  Wolf*  has  redeemed  his  symphony 
(which  you  unfortunately  did  not  suppress  before  it 
saw  the  light)  by  some  very  charming  new  songs. 

151.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms, 

Leipzig,  January  11,  1885. 

My  dear  Friend, — How  happy  you  have  made  us 
again  with  the  gay,  dainty  Scarlatti  piece,  which  I  am 
always  playing,  and  the  dear  touching  song,t  which 
makes  me  long  to  be  a  tenor,  so  as  to  sing  it  properly. 
The  song  has  given  the  poem  new  words  for  me ;  it 
is  so  different,  so  much  more  beautiful  in  the  light  of 
the  music.  ^  Es  dimkelt  schon,  mich  schldfert^  and  the 
word  Tag^  which  comes  in  so  finely  on  that  D,  are 
both  there  in  the  poem,  and  yet  they  mean  more  than 
they  did.  It  is  as  if  they  had  always  waited  for  that 
particular  dress.  How  nice  of  you  to  smuggle  the 
sheet   between   the  pages   of  Scarlatti !     You   know 

♦  Johannes  Wolf  (b.  1869),  a  pupil  of  Spitta,  subsequently  gave 
up  composing  for  music  history,  and  became  tutor  at  Berlin 
University. 

t  '  Der  Tod,  das  ist  die  kiihle  Nacht,'  Op.  96,  No.  i. 


2i8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

what  a  joy  every  new  note  of  yours  brings,  and  what 
a  double  joy  to  see  it  before  all  the  singers,  great  and 
small,  have  flung  themselves  upon  it. 

We  played  the  alto  songs  the  day  before  yesterday. 
Klengel*  has  a  splendid  viola,  and  plays  well,  so  we 
had  a  delightful  time  singing  and  listening  to  the 
two  pieces.  The  old  lViege7ilied]  is  still  my  favourite. 
It  sounds  so  beautiful,  and  the  way  the  voice  soars 
above  the  viola  is  too  lovely.  The  strong  legendary 
flavour  which  characterizes  it  seems  peculiar  to  this 
song,  and  you  might  hear  it  and  play  it  any  number 
of  times  without  breaking  the  charm.  The  microscopic 
alterations  did  not  escape  me — an  F  in  the  bass  (which 
is  probably  omitted  by  mistake  in  the  corresponding 
passage  ?),  and  a  lovely  D  flat  in  the  voice-part  in 
^  Ach  wie  so  mi'id  er  ward'  We  and  the  viola  are  going 
to  journey  to  the  Engelmanns  to-day.  Spies  t  is 
spending  the  day  with  them,  so  I  shall  play  the  part 
for  which  I  am  suited,  and  accompany  her.  It  will  be 
a  pleasure  to  hear  the  pieces  sung  for  the  first  time  in 
her  lovely  voice.  It  wants  a  magnificent,  full  voice  to 
hold  the  balance  against  the  almost  excessive  variety 
and  rhythmical  complications  of  the  D  major  piece. 

How  I  envy  you  your  Scarlatti,  if  there  are  many 
such  excellent  specimens !  What  an  ingenious  fellow 
he  is,  with  his  arpeggio  figures  in  the  unexpected 
A  major  part,  and  the  long  modulation,  which  has  no 
reference  to  the  piece  itself,  and  his  sudden  recollection 

*  Paul  Klengel  (1854),  a  violinist,  elder  brother  of  Julius  ;  con- 
ductor of  the  '  Euterpe'  at  Leipzig  from  1881  to  1886. 

t  Founded  on  an  old  sacred  melody,  ^ Josef,  licber  Josef  mein* 
which  Brahms  found  in  Corner's  Gross-KatJioHscJies  Gesanghuch  of 
163 1.  Liszt  made  it  a  leading  theme  in  his  St.  Elisabeth,  and 
Herzogenberg  in  his  Geburi  Christi. 

X  H  ermine  Spies,  the  singer. 


BRUCKNER'S  SYMPHONY  219 

of  the  subject  and  prompt  return  to  it !  Ah  yes,  a 
robust  talent  may  take  liberties  which  become  pre- 
posterous in  weaker  hands. 

Dear  Friend,  thank  you  again  for  everything,  keep 
us  in  your  affections,  and,  when  you  write,  breathe 
one  word  about  Bruckner.  You  are  not  afraid  of  our 
leading  you  on,  and  then  proclaiming  abroad  :  Brahms 
says  we  are  right !  We  will  lie  quite  low  about  any- 
thing you  say,  but  a  word  we  do  crave  for  our  own 
peace  of  mind.  What  do  you  think  of  the  Vierteljahrs- 
schrift?"^  Heinrich  is  so  glad,  because  we  shall  hear 
something  of  Chrysander  again.  You  probably  know 
that  he  has  been  taking  Spitta's  lectures  for  him 
(Spitta  still  has  to  be  careful),  and  comes  over  from 
Hamburgt  ever}'  fortnight  for  the  purpose. 

Good-bye  for  to-day.  Heinrich  declares  you  have 
not  really  gone  away,  so  vividly  does  he  see  you  at 
every  turn,  and  recall  every  word  you  said  to  him. 
The  Scherzo  has  been  put  on  a  separate  footing,  and 
there  is  a  new  one  for  the  second  subject  of  the  first 
movement,  to  my  great  delight.^  Yesterday  we  heard 
your  C  minor  quartet  §  again  after  a  long  interval.  I 
can  only  bear  to  hear  Joachim  play  the  two  corner 
movements ;  the  humbler  sort  do  not  know  how  to 
handle  them.  But  the  two  middle  movements  sounded 
beautiful,  and  are  really  too  splendid ;  or  do  you 
know  anything  much  more  charming  than  the  third, 
or  more  affecting  than  the  second  ? 

*  The  Vierteljahrsschrift  fiir  Musikwissenschaft  had  just  been  started 
by  Spitta,  Chrysander,  and  Adler.  It  was  published  by  Breitkopf 
and  H  artel  up  to  1894. 

t  Chrysander  lived  at  Bergedorf,  near  Hamburg. 

I  Probably  refers  to  Herzogenberg's  symphony  in  C  minor,  Op.  50, 
then  in  progress. 

§  Op.  51,  No.  I. 


220  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

When,  when  are  you  going  to  announce  the  birth 

of  your  youngest  mysterious  opus?*     Were  we  not 

amazingly  tactful  and  discreet  when  you  were  here  ? 

Are   we  not   excellent   people,  anyway?     Good-bye. 

I  really  shall  not  write  again  for  ages,  but  am  your 

devoted 

E.  H. 


152.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  January  12,  1885.] 

Dear  Lady, — I  understand  !  You  have  sat  through 
the  roaring  of  Bruckner's  symphony  once,  and  now, 
when  people  talk  about  it,  you  are  afraid  to  trust  the 
recollection  of  your  own  impressions. 

Well,  you  may  safely  do  so.  Your  delightful  letterf 
expresses  most  lucidly  all  that  can  be  said — all  that 
one  has  said  oneself  or  would  like  to  have  said  so 
nicely.  You  will  not  mind  when  I  tell  you  that 
Hanslick  shares  your  opinion,  and  read  your  letter 
with  pious  joy !  But  one  symphony  and  one  quintet 
of  Bruckner's  have  been  printed.  J  I  advise  you  to 
get  them  to  look  at,  with  a  view  to  steeling  your  mind 
and  your  judgment.  You  will  not  want  me ! 
#  #  *  #  # 

With  supreme  ill -humour,  deepest  respect,  and 
kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.  Br. 

*  The  fourth  symphony  in  E  minor, 
t  Letter  150. 

X  The  third  symphony  in  D  minor,  dedicated  to  Richard  Wagner, 
and  the  quintet  in  F  major. 


THE  BRUCKNER  CRUSADE  221 

153.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  January  14,  1885.] 

Dear  Friend, — If  I  write  again  to-day,  it  is  all  your 
own  fault  for  being  so  kind.  In  the  first  place,  you 
will  send  us  things  which  I  cannot  accept  quite  in 
silence,  and  then  you  wrote  me  such  an  embarrassingly 
charming  and  consoling  letter,  for  which  you  must  also 
be  thanked.  It  has  done  us  a  world  of  good,  inducing 
a  state  of  sudden  placidity  which  enables  us  to  listen 
unmoved  to  the  most  extravagant  nonsense  about  poor 
Bruckner,  so  strengthened  are  we  by  the  approval  of 
one  on  whom  we  *  invincibly  depend,'  as  Holderlin 
(whom  I  am  reading)  says  of  Schiller.  But  although 
we  can  arm  ourselves  with  placidity  at  a  pinch,  no  one 
can  console  us  for  the  fact  that,  in  this  world  of  so- 
called  culture,  there  are  so  many,  many  people  ready 
to  be  imposed  upon  by  any  inflated  windbag,  if  its 
appearance  is  made  with  due  pomp.  One  or  two  not 
quite  impossible  motifs,  like  grease-spots  swimming  on 
the  top  of  weak  soup,  and  there  we  have  ^  Meister' 
Bruckner's  whole  stock-in-trade,  while  those  who  do 
not  make  immediate  obeisance  are  stamped  as  unbe- 
lieving Thomases,  who  want  signs  and  wonders  to 
convince  them. 

I  should  just  like  to  know  who  started  the  Bruckner 
crusade,  how  it  came  about,  and  whether  there  is  not 
a  sort  of  freemasonry  among  the  Wagnerians.  It 
certainly  is  rather  like  a  game  of  taroc,  or  rather  that 
form  of  whist  in  which,  when  *  misery '  is  declared, 
the  lowest  card  takes  the  trick. 

I  am  genuinely  delighted  with  the  Sophocles.*     I 

*  A   new  translation   of   Sophocles  by  Giistav  Wendt  (b,  1827), 
dedicated  to  Brahms,  and  presented  by  him  to  Frau  von  Herzogenberg. 


222  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

■f 

little  thought  you  were  so  seriously  concerned  with 
my  education  when  I  answered  all  your  cross-ques- 
tioning so  unsuspectingly,  displaying  my  appalling 
ignorance  at  the  mention  of  Donner.*  How  charming 
that  I  should  just  have  invested  in  a  copy  of  Holderlin, 
the  lover  of  the  Greeks,  in  an  edition  that  was  once 
Schwab's t  own,  too,  decorated  with  his  marginal  notes  ! 

Heinrich  sends  respectful  and  most  affectionate  greet- 
ings. He  is  deep  in  organ-parts  for  three  cantatas,  and 
the  St.  John  Passion-music  for  March  the  2ist.| 

We  heard  the  Wassertrdger^  again  after  a  long 
interval  the  other  day.  How  nice  it  is  to  feel  that 
as  we  grow  older  we  appreciate  these  things  more, 
and  strengthen  our  allegiance  to  the  true  gods ! 

With  kindest  regards,  many  thanks,  and  no  further 
trace  of  ill-humour,  g.  Herzogenberg. 

154.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  February  13,  1885. 
Dear  Friend, — Now  that  I  know  you  to  be  back  in 
Vienna,  I  will  delay  no  longer  in  sending  one  lady's 
thanks  for  the  Tafellied.\  I  only  wish  we  had  here, 
as  in  the  Rhineland,  the  right  voice  material  as  well 
as  the  right  temperament  for  singing  this  graceful 
glee  straight  aWay  while  sitting  at  table,  instead  of 

■*  Josef  Jakob  Christian  Donner,  the  well-known  translator  of  the 
classics. 

f  Christoph  Theodor  Schwab,  the  first  editor  of  Holderlin's 
complete  works. 

\  The  Leipzig  Bachverein  performed  the  St.  John  Passion-music  in 
celebration  of  Bach's  birthday. 

§  Cherubini's  opera. 

II  Brahms  had  written  a  Tafellied  (table-song),  '  Dank  der  Damen,' 
Op.  936,  for  the  fiftieth  anniversary  of  the  Krefeld  Singverein  on 
January  27  and  28,  and  conducted  it  himself. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  APPOINTMENT       223 

first  practising  it  like  any  solemn  motet.  But  the  fog 
and  the  soot,  timidity  and  other  causes,  all  combine 
against  the  fulfilment  of  any  such  wish  here.  What  a 
happy  selection  you  made  this  time,  too !  What  witch- 
craft leads  you  to  open  books  of  poems  at  just  the  right 
place,  where  there  is  still  treasure  for  the  composer  ? 

By  way  of  news  to-day  I  may  say  that  we  are 
really  in  for  Berlin.*  The  decree,  stamped  by  the 
Ministerium  for  *  ecclesiastical,  scholastic,  and  medical 
appointments,'  lies  before  us  in  all  its  glory,  so  I 
suppose  we  may  consider  it  settled.  They  have  at 
last  decided  on  the  charitable  fiction  that  Kiel  is  to 
have  indefinite  leave  of  absence,  while  Heinrich  is  to 
act  as  supply.  This  is  by  far  the  most  satisfactory 
way,  as  it  leaves  a  loophole  of  escape  if  the  arrange- 
ment fails  to  suit  either  Heinrich  or  them.  It  makes 
it  much  easier  for  him  to  accept  the  post.  These 
decisions  are  always  difficult,  even  to  happy  people 
like  ourselves,  who  take  their  shell — their  feeling  that 
life  depends  on  their  being  all  in  all  to  each  other — 
with  them  everywhere.  And  Berlin  never  really 
attracted  us.  You  know  how  it  came  about — how  we 
felt  ourselves  superfluous  here,  and  how  they  insisted 
we  should  be  in  our  right  place  there,  and  so  we 
decided.  We  realized  clearly,  though,  how  much  less 
a  decision  depends  on  ourselves  than  on  fate  and 
chance.  If  the  Wiesbaden  negotiations  had  not 
dragged  quite  so  much,  we  should  have  accepted 
with  eagerness,  for  the  plastic  chorus  material  there 
attracted  Heinrich  far  more  than  the  honour  of  sitting 
on  those  gilt  chairs  t  (with  the  Berliners),  which,  as 

*  Herzogenberg's  appointment  to  the  Hochschule. 

t  Herzogenberg  had,  further,  been  elected  member  of  the  Academy 
of  Arts.  A  portrait  included  in  this  volume  shows  him  in  his 
academical  robes. 


224  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Wilhelm  Grimm  says,  are  *  wooden  after  all,  and  not 
exempt  from  the  worm !' 

'They  hide  everything  under  a  correct  manner,'  he 
goes  on  to  say,  *  and  think  themselves  cleverer  than 
anyone  else.'  Pray  Heaven  we  may  not  be  infected 
with  this  poison,  but  keep  our  low  opinion  of  our- 
selves (in  the  best  sense).  When  these  great  changes 
come,  we  ought  to  be  glad  to  be  past  our  first  youth, 
and  therefore  able  to  sift  the  chaff  from  the  wheat 
without  haste  or  prejudice. 

But  wherever  we  go,  you  must  be  the  same  to  us, 
and  provide  us  with  new  joys  ! 

I  had  the  bad  luck  to  miss  the  D  major  symphony, 
so  nicely  done  at  Klengel's  concert,  and  more  recently 
your  *  deeply  intellectual '  Song  of  Destiny^  (O  shade 
of  Fritzsch !) 

Good-bye,  and  send  a  line  to  your  devoted 

Herzogenbergs. 

Was  Bruckner's  quintet  really  such  a  success  ?t 

155.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  25,  1885.] 

I  should  be  most  happy  to  send  some  songs  could 

I  be  sure  they  would  bring  in  a  kind  word.     But  my 

song-copyist t  is  on  tour  with  the  Strauss  orchestra.  § 

For  to-day  kindest  regards. — Yours, 

J.  Br. 

*  Op.  54 ;  quotation  from  the  Musikalisches  Wochenblatt. 

t  Bruckner's  quintet  was  performed  in  Vienna  for  the  first  time 
on  January  8,  1885,  at  the  Hellmesberger  quartet  concert.  The 
Adagio  alone  had  a  succes  d'estime. 

X  Wilhelm  Kupfer,  a  'cellist,  native  of  Hamburg,  acted  for  many 
years  as  copyist  to  Brahms. 

§  Eduard  Strauss's  orchestra. 


THE  SCARLATTI  MANUSCRIPTS       225 

1 56.  Brahms  to  Heinrich  and  Elisahet  von  Herzogenberg, 

[Vienna,  May  6,  1885.] 

My  dear  Friends, — I  have  succumbed  to  the  tempta- 
tion of  sending  you  a  few  songs.  In  case  there  should 
be  any  question  of  it,  I  must  ask  you  not  to  have  the 
Nachtigall  or  the  Wanderer^  copied.  On  the  other 
hand,  I  should  be  very  glad  if  you  felt  like  giving 
me  your  opinion  of  the  two  little  creatures. 

I  need  not  say  that  they  are  more  or  less  twins — on 
whom  I  am  now  trying  all  sorts  of  experiments.  I 
have  given  the  nightingale  a  new  note,  for  instance  ;t 
but  it  is  not  the  thing  yet,  by  any  means. 

It  would  be  charming  if  you  had  a  little  word  to 
say  to  each  little  song.  No  need  to  apologize  if  the 
verdict  be  a  hard  one,  a  curt  '  away  with  them !' 

I  have  to  add  that  I  should,  of  course,  send  more 

Scarlatti  if  there  were  any  others  as  good.     I  have 

over  300  beautiful  old   manuscript  copies,  of  which 

172  are  unpublished.l     Czerny  made  use  of  them  for 

a  collection,  which  is  as  admirably  selected  as  edited. 

His  edition,  containing  200  pieces,  probably  stopped 

short  where  it  did  by  chance,  or  he  would  hardly  have 

overlooked   your   specimen.     You   should   really   try 

to  get   a  copy  (Czerny's  edition,  Haslinger,  Vienna) 

through  some  good  antiquarian.     It  is  rare  now.     I 

had  to  wait  a  long  time  before  I  could  find  a  complete 

copy.     Please  write  very  soon. — Yours, 

J.Br. 

*  Op.  97,  No.  I,  and  Op.  io6,  No.  5, 

t  Brahms  had  taken  the  melody  to  '  Hier,  wo  sick  die  Strassen 
scheiden '  from  the  Wanderer,  and  adapted  it  for  the  Nightingale. 
Any  attempt,  therefore,  to  detect  the  nightingale's  note  in  the  four 
introductory  bars  or  the  song  itself  is  obviously  unjustifiable.  There 
could  be  no  better  argument  against  *  programme  music' 

%  Cf.  Letter  149. 

IS 


226  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

157.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg, 

[Vienna,  May  17,  1885.] 

I  start  for  Murzzuschlag  (Steiermark)*  in  an  hour, 
and,  once  there,  hope  you  will  not  keep  me  waiting 
many  hours  for  songs  and  opinions! — Kindest  regards, 

J.  Br. 

158.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig]  May  21  and  22,  1885. 
Dear  Friend, — I  suspect  your  card  was  designed 
not  only  to  convey  a  *  change  of  address,'  but  to 
admonish  !  I  am  sorry,  for  you  evidently  think  I  have 
kept  the  dear  songs  too  long,  and  my  conscience, 
which  was  clear — I  considered  myself  justified  in 
keeping  them — becomes  burdened.  Yet  I  could  not 
part  with  them,  for  the  few  moments  I  could  devote 
to  the  sweet  things  were  snatched  with  difficulty  in 
the  intervals  of  such  pleasant  occupations  as  packing 
*  moth-boxes,'  shaking  carpets,  preparations  for  re- 
moval, and  all  sorts  of  things  a  bachelor  has  no  idea 
of.  Certainly  I  enjoyed  the  songs  all  the  more,  and 
have  fallen  hopelessly  in  love  with  some  of  them. 
I  may  as  well  say  at  once  that  I  give  my  unqualified 
approval  to  the  beauty  in  D  flat  (Daumer's  words) 
with  the  middle  part  in  E  major.!  It  must  be  one 
of  the  most  glorious  songs  in  the  world.  It  is  so 
ideal  for  the  voice,  so  vigorous  in  conception  [^ich 
gdbe  viel^  um  zu  erfahren '),  and  so  happy  in  the  lines 
of  its  melody  which  flatter  both  singer  and  listener. 
Above  all,  how  perfectly  words  and  music  are  blended 
in  their  deep  emotion,  their  lovely  animation !     Such 

*  Brahms's  summer  house.        +  *  Wir  Wandcltcn^  Op.  96,  No.  2. 


SONGS  227 

loving  care  has  been  lavished  on  every  detail,  and 
each  tiny  variant  has  its  calculated  effect  in  rendering 
the  particular  part  more  impressive,  as,  for  instance, 
the  quavers  introduced  at  ^  In  memem  Haupte  die 
Gedanken!  and  the  harmonies,  which  are  changed  in 
position  only.  It  is  a  pleasure  to  see  and  feel  it  all, 
and  one  sings  with  such  conviction  at  the  end:  ^ so 
wunderlieblich  sei  auf  der  Welt  kein  anderer  HallP 
Next  in  order  comes  Meerfahrt^^  with  those  strangely 
affecting  horn-blasts,  the  F  sharp  over  the  A  minor 
harmony,  the  C  sharp  over  the  E  minor  farther  on, 
and  last  of  all  the  B  natural.f  They  come  with  startling 
freshness,  and  must  be  classed  among  the  wonders 
which,  to  the  end  of  time,  will  be  evoked  in  response 
to  any  great  force  demanding  expression,  exhausted 
as  the  available  store  of  musical  material  often  seems, 
and  actually  is,  to  the  non-elect.  Tell  me,  have  you 
not  a  special  weakness  for  Meerfahrt  yourself?  My 
attitude  towards  it  and  the  D  flat  song  is  that  of  children 
who,  when  asked,  *  Do  you  like  me  or  So-and-so  best  ?' 
reply,  *I  like  you  best,  but  I  like  So-and-so  best  too.' 
Meerfahrt  has  just  that  dignified  leisure,  that  true  soste- 
m//o  character  and  fine  breadth  of  outline,  which  you  are 
so  well  able  to  command.  What  a  reposeful,  whole- 
some effect  of  tonality  there  is  in  spite  of  the  originality 
of  the  harmonies  I  What  an  entire  absence  of  uncertainty 
as  to  where  one  stands,  or  the  direction  in  which  one 
is  being  taken,  and  how  beautifully  the  subdued 
anguish  of  the  diminished  7th  melts  into  the  opening 
key  of  a  minor,|  while  the  voice  takes  that  despairing 
F  sharp  for  the  first  time§ — how  piercing,  how  im- 
pressive it  all  is,  and  yet  how  restrained ! 


*  Op.  96,  No.  2. 
\  Bar  48  ci  seq. 

t  Bars  3,  29,  58. 
§  Bar  54. 

15- 

228  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  am  afraid  of  not  saying  the  right  thing  about  the 
Nightingale  and  the  Wanderer^  for  the  fact  is,  only  one 
of  them  meets  with  my  entire  approval — the  Nightin- 
gale,  which  I  like  very  much.  The  melody  has  the 
bitter-sweet  of  the  real  nightingale's  song ;  they  seem 
to  revel  in  augmented  and  diminished  intervals, 
passionate  little  creatures  that  they  are  ! — and  the 
simple  tenderness  of  the  F  major  part  is  so  charming 
by  contrast.*  How  finely  the  climax  at  *  Verklungenen 
Tonen '  is  prepared,  and  how  happy  the  return  to  the 
opening  motif  at  the  words,  *  In  deinem  Leid  ein  leiser 
WiederhalV !  Indeed,  this  song,  delicious  as  the  first 
tender  green  of  the  woods,  seems  to  me  ^ gef undent 
inspired  from  first  to  last — nichts  zu  suchen,  das  war  sein 
Sinfft — whereas  the  Wanderer  has  a  touch  of  the  chilly 
North  ;  one  misses  the  pleasing  contrast,  which  the 
second  part  fails  to  supply  satisfactorily.:]:  In  any  case, 
it  would  not  come  well  after  the  Nightingale,  and  could 
only  detract  from  its  effect  by  being  placed  before  it. 
Please  suppress  me  if  I  go  too  far,  but  remember,  at 
the  same  time,  that  I  am  but  obeying  your  orders  !§ 
And  before  you  forget  that  fact,  I  may  as  well  confess 
that  I  cannot  reconcile  myself  to  one  song,  and  that  is 
the  Mond,  ^  der  sich  leuchtend  drdnget.\     Either  I  am 

*  *  Nein^  trauier  Vogel,  nein  P 

t  Quotation  from  Goethe's  Gefufiden. 

I  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  Wanderer  was  the  older  of  the  twin 
songs,  and  had  therefore  the  greater  claim  to  being  '  Gefunden.' 
Brahms  may  have  had  the  Nightingale  in  his  mind,  but  it  was  not 
written  until  later. 

§  Brahms  eventually  recast  the  Wanderer,  and  included  it  in 
Op.  io6  much  later. 

II  Heine's  poem  *  Wie  der  Mond  sich  leuchtend  drdnget.''  Brahms 
suppressed  the  song,  possibly  on  account  of  this  adverse  criticism, 
and  gave  up  the  idea  of  a  series  of  Heine  songs  which  he  was  then 
contemplating. 


SONGS  229 

quite  irresponsible  and  capricious  in  my  tastes,  or  it 
really  is  not  on  the  same  musical  plane  with  the  others. 
To  put  it  brutally,  I  feel  as  if  it  had  only  the  contours 
of  a  Brahms  piece — what  is  called  mannerism  as 
distinct  from  style.  I  don't  know  how  to  express 
myself  without  being  guilty  of  impertinence,  but 
neither  can  I  be  silent  without  feeling  myself  a  traitor 
to  your  songs  in  general.  For  are  they  not  our  lode- 
star, the  standard  by  which  you  measure  our  education, 
and  have  we  not  a  right  to  demand  the  very  highest  of 
our  master?  How  can  we  Brahmsianer  sanction  a 
melody  like  this,  with  its  intricacies  and  its  restless 
harmonies,  after  all  the  treasures  of  inspiration 
showered  on  us !  I  really  feel  strongly  that  this  song 
is  not  to  be  mentioned  in  the  same  breath  with  the 
others.  But  I  revive  again  when  I  come  to  the  B  minor 
(Heine's),*  with  its  exquisite  fervour,  so  tender  and 
pleasing  in  addition  to  its  ingenuity.  It  is  a  gem  indeed, 
a  marvel  of  compactness  !  One  never  tires  of  playing 
it.  How  unfailing,  too,  is  the  appeal  of  the  closing 
passage  (*  Nehmt  mit  meine  Trdnen  tmd  Seufzer')  \ 

'  Aiif  dem  Schiffe'\  is  charming,  with  its  sail-flapping 
accompaniment,  and  the  little  volkslied  in  E  flatj  is 
expressive  and  unaffected.  But  I  cannot  bring  myself 
to  like  this  bar : 

Voice  :  A[,— G— F. 


EEE5= 


riif*=?* 


^S 


iiElzr: 


~.U7. 


*  '  Es  schauen  die  Blumen,*  Op.  96,  No.  3.  +  Op.  97,  No.  2. 

I  '  Trcnnung,'  Op.  97,  No.  6.     The  key  is  F,  not  E  flat.     Brahms 


230  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

That  is  one  of  the  wicked,  false  relations  which  are 
hardly  in  place  in  this  simple  little  song,  so  engaging 
and  well-behaved  in  other  respects.  Halm's  *  Winter- 
nachV^  makes  me  sad.  Those  dry  verses  never 
deserved  that  you  should  set  them  to  music.  Singing 
them  makes  one  shiver  for  a  fur  coat  I  But  Lady 
Judith]  is  something  like  a  poem  I  The  words  are 
splendid  and  the  music  delicious.  It  is  too  short, 
though.  One  almost  wishes  you  had  treated  it  in  the 
only  possible  way — that  is,  not  strictly  in  strophes,  but 
with  some  alteration  or  extension  of  the  last  verse.  It  is 
over  so  quickly,  and  there  is  so  much  concentration  in 
the  poem  that  one  feels  it  all  the  more.J  The  variation 
of  the  accompaniment  to  the  Wanderer  strikes  me  as  less 
happy  than  the  original  form.  After  singing  through  all 
the  three  several  times,  I  can  only  say  I  think  the 
Nightingale  so  bewitching  as  to  justify  a  little  self- 
denial. 

In  your  letter  you  speak  of  '  some  songs '  that  you 
are  sending.  Are  there  more  to  come?  What  a 
splendid  haul  this  was  I     What  a  pleasure  you  must 

transposed  the  song  a  semitone,  probably  to  make  it  more  effective. 
The  unpleasant  false  relation  in  bar  14  is  avoided  as  follows  : 


*  This  song  was  never  published.  There  is  no  Winter's  Night 
among  Halm's  poems,  but  a  Snowstorm,  which  corresponds  to  the 
description. 

t  '  Entfiihrung,'  Op.  97,  No.  3,  words  by  W.  Alexis. 

%  Brahms  followed  this  advice,  and  lengthened  the  last  verse  by 
one  bar  to  lend  the  climax  additional  emphasis. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  231 

take  in  stringing  together  all  these  pearls  that  come  to 
you  in  such  quantities,  all  the  finest  and  best ! 

Thank  you  for  sending 'me  the  dear  pile.  I  and  my 
Heinz  know  no  greater  bliss  than  to  dive  into  a  new 
hoard  such  as  this.  If  you  could  but  hear  our  delighted 
exclamations,  and  see  our  bear-play  in  the  form  of 
vigorous  pokes  and  pushes  when  we  come  to  any- 
thing particularly  fine  or  beautiful,  you  would  have  to 
be  pleased  with  such  evidence  of  your  own  power  to 
please. 

I  wish  you — and  ourselves — a  productive  and  re- 
freshing summer  culminating  in  a  grand  autumn 
explosion.  I  hear  rumours  of  a  symphony — as  usual ! 
— but  this  time  the  Princess  of  Meiningen*  is  prepared 
to  swear  to  it.  I  myself  have  visions  of  a  string 
quartet,  suggested  by  one  of  your  mysterious  remarks 
on  a  post-card. 

And  I  know  what  I  should  like  for  Christmas  :  the 
A  minor  song,  Meerfahrt^  in  your  own  writing.  If 
you  consider  the  request  audacious,  I  take  it  back — 
like  the  Leipzigers.  To-day  the  A  minor  is  my  only 
love ;  to-morrow  it  will  probably  be  the  D  flat 
major. 

Heinz  sends  very  kindest  regards.  He  would  so 
like  to  see  you  in  our  mountains,  and  have  you  sitting 
at  our  table.  It  would  be  lovely  in  July,  when  we  are 
by  ourselves  ;  we  expect  to  be  inundated  with  relatives 
in  August,  and  there's  an  end  to  my  freedom  !  Good- 
bye, and  thanks  once  more. — Yours, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

*  Princess  Marie  of  Meiningen, 


232  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

1 59.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Leipzig,  May  24,  1885.] 

*  Nehmt  mit  unsre  Seufzer  und  Thranen, 
Ihr  Lieder  schwermiitig  und  triib.'  * 

It  is  not  my  fault  that  they  were  not  sent  off  before 

to-day.     The   post-office  would   not   take  them   in   a 

wrapper — the  way  they  came — and  afterwards  it  was 

too  late.     Woe  is   me  that  I  forgot  to  copy  out  the 

words  of  the  Nightingale  (I  might  have  been  allowed 

that  much !) ;  I  can   of  course  remember  the  music. 

We  are  all  quite  intoxicated  with  the  A  minor  song. 

Inspirations  of  that  order  are  none  too  common.     Do 

please  send  a  card  to  say  that  my  little  guests  have 

arrived  safely ! 

E.  H. 

160.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[MiJRZZUscHLAG,  May  28,  1885.] 

Many,  many  thanks  for  your  letter,  which  could  not 
have  been  kinder  or  more  satisfactory.  Moreover,  it 
coincides  remarkably  with  my  own  casual  ideas  and 
wishes,  although  you  frequently  see  blue  sky  where 
mine  is  overcast.  I  hardly  think,  by  the  way,  that 
anyone  need  mind  speaking  plainly  about  my  things, 
given  the  one  condition  of  genuine,  heartfelt  interest. 
For  one  thing,  I  am  far  from  thinking  my  capacity  for 
writing  good  stuff  unlimited,  and  for  another  I  do  not 
take  a  provisional  opinion  too  seriously — and,  after 
all,  tastes  differ  I 

But  you  have  no  idea  of  the  enjoyment  one  can 

*  An  adaptation  of  Heine  in  '£s  schauen  die  Blumen'  (Brahms, 
Op.  96,  No.  3). 


SONGS  233 

extract  from  a  mere  handful  of  songs,  by  reading  them 
in  the  Hght  of  your  descriptions. 

But  to  come  to  the  point — you  missed  one  out.  I  do 
really  want  to  hear  a  word  or  two  about  the  Rhenish 
volkslied,  ^ Dort  in  den  Weiden,'*  if  it  has  not  faded  from 
your  memory.  Or  did  it  escape  you  altogether  ?  It 
was  on  the  back  of  Lady  Judith,  Here  it  lies,  peeping 
at  me,  and  I  don't  know  what  sort  of  a  face  to  make ! 

Be  sure  you  let  me  know  when  you  go  to  Wiesbaden. 
(Is  any  address  necessary  ?) 

With  my  warmest  thanks  and  kindest  regards  to 

you  both,  yours, 

J.Br. 

161.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

LiSELEY,  June  3,  1885. 

KONIGSSEE. 

My  DEAR  Friend, — Your  letter  was  a  real  joy  and 
consolation.  It  stands  me  in  good  stead  that  you  do 
not  take  preliminary  judgments  too  seriously,  for  that 
helped  to  make  you  indulgent  with  mine.  Yet  I  confess 
it  seems  to  me  hardly  right  to  speak  of  preliminary 
judgment  in  the  case  of  songs,  which  are  on  a  small 
enough  scale  to  be  taken  in  at  a  glance,  though  it 
would  apply,  I  admit,  to  orchestral  and  chamber  music. 
I  am,  of  course,  taking  an  intimate  acquaintance  with 
the  composer's  method  for  granted.  I  know  these  new 
songs,  for  instance,  as  well  as  I  ever  shall,  and  my 
opinion  of  them  will  be  the  same  a  year  hence.  In 
the  same  way  I  was  able,  after  looking  through  them 
several  times,  to  pick  out  my  favourites  among  the 
latest  arrivals. 

Besides,  you  say  yourself  that  your  own  estimation 

*  Op.  97,  No.  4. 


234  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

of  them  tallies  with  my  remarks.  So  I  forgot  to  mention 
the  Willow  Song.^  I  think  I  remember  it,  however. 
Doesn't  it  go  like  this, 


=f^t^^^^ 


and  have  a  fine  ritornelle  on  the  same  melody,  with 
this  bass  in  quavers  after  the  beat  ? 


m% 


6  7       3    "T 


-^ 


Pi 


It 


Yes,  I  remember — that  was  it !  But  the  song  itself 
somehow  failed  to  captivate  me.  I  thought  to  myself 
how  much  I  should  like  it  if  I  did  not  know  the  other 
Brahms  songs  ;  knowing  them,  I  realized  how  spoilt 
I  was !  It  seemed  to  me  you  had  given  us  much  the 
same  message  before,!  only  told  more  prettily  and 
weighing  heavier  in  the  golden  scales ;  while  every- 
thing that  charms  me  most  in  the  other  songs  is,  I 
feel,  being  said  for  the  first  time.  A  feehng  of  this 
sort  always  cripples  one's  receptive  faculties  even  for 
things  that  are  good  and  beautiful  in  themselves.  For 
instance,  it  prejudices  me  against  Sappho%  (which  is, 
I  am  sure,  really  beautiful)  among  the  last-published 
songs.  To  my  mind,  you  had  expressed  that  very 
shade  of  emotion  with  more  grandeur,  more  simplicity, 
once  before,  using  similar  material ;  but  I,  true  to 
my  former  gods,  am  not  to  be  diverted  from  it,  but 

*  Weidenlied,  Op.  97,  No.  4.  The  melody  is  quoted  correctly,  but 
not  the  harmonies  of  the  ritornelle.  Brahms  uses  the  dominant 
seventh  on  A,  not  the  diminished  seventh  on  A  sharp,  in  the  third  b^r, 

f  Cf.  Kalbeck  (Johannes  Brahms,  i.  160  ct  seq.), 

J  '  Sapphic  Ode,'  Op.  94,  No.  4. 


SONGS  235 

turn  with  the  greater  fervour  to  the  best  you  have 
given  me. 

Over  and  above  this  I  consider  the  little  Willow 
Song  unvocal,  and  I  never  like  the  accompaniment 
to  follow  the  notes  of  the  melody — it  rarely  fails  to 
embarrass  the  singer. 

I  have  been  wondering  what  could  be  done  with 
Judith,*  and  whether  you  could  not  add  a  train  to  the 
proud  lady's  robe.  Or  do  you  object  to  making  the 
last  verse  different  on  principle  ?t  It  seems  so  pain- 
fully abrupt  and  scanty.  Do  think  it  over  again, 
please ! 

The  A  minor  song,t  with  its  final  ^trostlos^'  still 
haunts  me  perpetually.  It  follows  me  to  bed,  and, 
once  I  begin,  I  have  to  go  through  with  it  to  the 
glorious  ending. 

We  are  very  happy  in  our  dear  little  house,  and 
thoroughly  enjoy  hearing  the  blackbirds 


and  finches.  Some  robins  have  made  their  nest  in  our 
bushes,  to  our  great  joy.  After  a  great  deal  of  rain,  we 
have  blue  skies  and  sunshine  again.  If  we  were  more 
selfish,  and  did  not  take  life  so  seriously  or  forecast 
trouble,  how  happy  we  might  be !  Good-bye,  and  thank 
you  once  more.  You  must  know  what  it  means  to  me 
to  be  allowed  to  write  to  you  quite  freely  all  that  I  feel. 

*  Op.  97,  No.  3  (see  Letter  158,  note). 

+  Brahms  had  no  such  objection,  but  frequently  handled  his 
poems  with  great  freedom. 

I  Meerfahrt. 

§  Frau  von  Herzogenberg  rightly  traces  the  motif  in  the  Nightingale 
and  the  Wanderer  to  the  blackbird's  note,  and  not  the  nightingale's. 


236  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Heinrich  sends  kindest  regards,  and  suggests  that,  as 
you  have  been  so  kind  once,  you  might,  without  fear  of 
turning  our  heads,  send  us  the  quartet  or  the  symphony 
or  whatever  'the  thing'  (see  Limburger!)  may  call 
itself  before  it  becomes  public  property. 

And  when  are  you  going  to  pay  a  visit  to  Liseley  ?* 


162.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[MuRZZUSCHLAG,  June  6,  1885.] 

Please  forgive  my  misplaced  lecture.  It  was  abso- 
lutely no  reflection  on  your  kind  letter,  and  must  have 
looked  black  indeed  by  contrast. 

All  the  same,  taken  con  discrezione,  strictly  for  general 
application,  and  in  the  friendliest  possible  sense,  it  may 
come  in  useful  another  time  ! 

Can  you  find  out,  and  let  me  know,  when  the  Duke 
of  Meiningen  is  expected  ?t 

If  you  should  meet  a  certain  Frau  Dr.  Anna  Franz 

of  Vienna  during  the  summer,  I  hope  you  will  like  the 

dear,  kind  woman.     I  might  give  her  a  card  for  you  ? 

She  certainly  stands  to  gain   by  it. — Most  sincerely 

yours, 

J.  Br. 

*  The  name  given  to  the  house  Herzogenberg  had  built  at 
Berchtesgaden. 

t  George  II.,  Dul^e  of  Saxe  -  Meiningen  and  Hildburghausen 
(b.  1826),  was  an  intelHgent  patron  of  music  and  the  drama.  He 
married  in  1873  a  very  musical  actress,  Ellen  Franz,  a  pupil  of  Biilow, 
who  received  the  title  Freifrau  von  Heldburg.  From  the  time  of 
Billow's  appointment  as  conductor  at  Meiningen  in  1880,  the  Duke 
took  a  great  interest  in  Brahms,  whose  frequent  visits  to  the  palace 
ended  in  establishing  particularly  friendly  relations  between  them. 
Meiningen  was  the  first  town  to  erect  a  monument  to  Brahms.  This 
was  executed  by  Hildebrand  a  year  after  the  composer's  death  in 
1897. 


INVITATION  TO  LISELEY  237 

163.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

LiSELEY,  August  7,  [1885]. 

Sir, — We  do  not  wish  to  be  importunate,  but  I 
should  hke  to  remind  you,  before  it  is  too  late,  that,  in 
case  you  still  have  any  idea  of  coming  over,  it  is  par- 
ticularly desirable  for  us  that  it  should  be  soon. 
Otherwise  we  should  have  neither  the  pleasure  of 
putting  you  up,  nor  the  leisure  to  enjoy  your  vi^it. 
For  from  the  15th  onward  we  are,  as  I  told  you,  to  be 
besieged  by  an  army  of  relatives,  twelve  deep,  and  shall 
not  have  a  moment  to  ourselves,  still  less  for  a  friend 
with  whom  one  does  not  wish  to  be  stingy.  It  would 
indeed  be  a  sore  trial  to  have  that  friend  close  at  hand 
without  being  able  to  enjoy  his  company.  *  Rather 
will  I  stab  myself  to  death  with  a  pluperfect  fifth  !'* 
than  suffer  such  torture.  And  so  we  thought  it  would 
be  very  sociable  and  gracious  of  you  to  come  for  a  few 
days  now,  with  sheep  and  cattle  for  company.  Later 
I  expect  you  will  be  drawn  to  Frau  Schumann's  sum- 
mitjt  and  we  should  surrender  you  with  due  solemnity 
to  your  other  real  friends.  Frau  Franz  has  not  put  in 
an  appearance,  and  does  not,  apparently,  desire  our 
acquaintance. 

Do  me  the  favour  of  an  immediate  post-card  an- 
nouncing your   decision,   which   will,  I    hope,  prove 

favourable  to  your  faithful 

Herzogenbergs. 

Yes,  the  Meiningens  will  certainly  be  gone  before 
you  arrive,  and  with  them,  perhaps,  all  that  attracts 
you  to  Konigssee  ?| 

*  Quotation  from  Hoffmann. 

t  At  Vordereck,  near  Berchtesgaden. 

\  The  Duke  had  a  hunting-lodge  on  Konigssee. 


238  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

164.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[MURZZUSCHLAG,  AugUSt  29,  1885.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  seem  to  miss  one  opportunity 
after  another  of  visiting  you.  Shall  I  put  it  down  to  a 
languid  dread  of  all  the  non-acquaintances  in  the  train, 
and  all  the  crowd  of  acquaintances  in  your  neighbour- 
hood whom  I  am  also  due  to  visit  ?  Are  you  staying 
on  ?  and  are  you  by  yourselves  again  ?  Might  I  venture 
to  send  you  a  piece  of  a  piece  of  mine,*  and  should 
you  have  time  to  look  at  it,  and  tell  me  what  you  think 
of  it?  The  trouble  is  that,  on  the  whole,  my  pieces 
are  nicer  than  myself,  and  need  less  setting  to  rights ! 
But  cherries  never  get  ripe  for  eating  in  these  parts,t 
so  do  not  be  afraid  to  say  if  you  don't  like  the  taste. 
I  am  not  at  all  eager  to  write  a  bad  No.  4. 

That  reminds  me,  when  am  I  to  see  No.  i  ?t  Must 
I  wait  for  the  reason,  like  the  concert  conductors? 

Is  Astor§  not  ready  yet  ?  I  have  been  much  looking 
forward  for  a  long  time  to  a  closer  examination  of  this 
same  No.  i. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.  Brahms. 

*  First  movement  of  the  fourth  symphony  in  E  minor. 

+  Brahms  also  considered  it  necessary  to  warn  his  friend  Biilow 
of  the  acerbity  of  his  new  symphony.  He  says,  writing  about  this 
time  :  *  I  have  often,  while  writing,  had  a  pleasing  vision  of  rehearsing 
it  [the  symphony]  with  you  in  a  nice  leisurely  way — a  vision  that  I 
still  have,  although  I  wonder  if  it  will  ever  have  any  other  audience  ! 
I  rather  fear  it  has  been  influenced  by  this  climate,  where  the  cherries 
never  ripen.     You  would  never  touch  them  !' 

%  Herzogenberg's  first  symphony  in  C  minor,  Op.  50,  which  was 
followed  later  by  one  other  in  B  flat,  Op.  70. 

§  Herzogenberg's  publisher. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  239 

165.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahns. 

LisELEY,  September  i,  1885. 

Dear  Friend, — Yes,  you  may  '  venture '  to  send  that 
piece  of  your  piece,  which — Heaven  be  praised ! — 
appears  to  be  a  symphony.  It  will  make  two  people 
very  happy.  If  I  had  no  time,  I  would  make  it  by 
some  means ;  but  I  really  shall  have  time  some  days, 
and  mean  to  dive  deep  into  this  proof  of  your  kindness. 
Do  please  send  it  soon;  you  can  imagine  with  what 
Christmas-y  feelings  we  shall  sit  and  watch  for  it. 
It  was  a  real  disappointment  to  us  that  you  could 
not  come.  We  had  everything  so  beautifully  ready — 
our  little  house,  our  two  hearts,  and  some  home-bottled 
wine  in  our  own  little  cellar,  thinking  all  the  time  you 
might  drop  on  us  any  moment  in  person,  as  you  did 
not  write.  Well,  you  were  evidently  better  employed. 
No.  4  in  process  of  construction  was  better  company 
for  you  than  all  of  us  put  together.  Send  as  much 
as  you  have,  only  at  once.  We  shall  hardly  stay  later 
than  the  loth  or  12th,  as  we  want  to  spend  a  couple  of 
days  with  my  parents  at  Hosterwitz,  after  which  we 
go  forth  to  meet  the  great  unknown — Berlin,  Kurfur- 
stenstrasse  87 1  Sometimes  I  have  qualms ;  then  I 
remember  Heinz,  and  I  know  that  as  long  as  I  have 
him  I  want  nothing  else  in  heaven  or  earth.  Also  I 
have  an  idea  of  learning  to  use  the  pedals  there,  and 
am  as  happy  as  a  child  at  the  prospect.  Heinz,  too, 
is  decidedly  looking  forward  to  his  *  midnight '  boys  ;* 
and  as  he  certainly  has  a  touch  of  Dr.  Marianus,t  he 
is  sure  to  do  well,  and  I  shall  be  very  happy,  too.     As 

*  *  Boys,  brought  forth  in  midnights  haunted '  {Faust  II.,  Act  V., 
Scene  7). 

t  Confuses  *  Dr.  Marianus '  with  '  Pater  Seraphicus '  in  Faust. 


240  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

for  all  the  uglinesses  connected  with  it,  the  malicious 
tongues  which  play  so  important  a  part  in  Berlin,  and 
all  the  various  cliques,  we  shall  come  to  no  harm 
by  them,  so  much  faith  have  I  in  our  power — and 
in  that  of  everyone  whose  instincts  are  for  higher, 
better  things — to  keep  vulgarity  at  a  distance. 

To  our  very  happy  acquaintance,  then,  dear  No.  4, 
and  a  blessing  on  the  dear  author  for  letting  us  have 
you  at  once ! 

Heinz  will  send  his  firstborn*  as  soon  as  little  friend 
Astor  is  ready.  We  won't  inflict  the  proof-copy, 
which  is  full  of  mistakes,  on  you. 

Fare  you  very  well ! — Yours  gratefully  and  most 
sincerely, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

Frau  Franz  called  the  other  day ;  she  is  charming. 

166.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[MuRZZUSCHLAG,  September  4,  1885.] 

If  the  piece  t  should  smile  on  you  at  all,  I  should 

like  to  ask  you  to  pass  it  on  to  Frau  Schumann — that 

is,  play  it  to  her.     I  hope  to  hear  very  soon.     You 

will  be  sure  to  send  me  the  thing  back  before  you 

leave  ? — Meantime,  in  haste,  yours, 

J.Br. 

167.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

LisELEY,  September  6,  p.m.  [1885]. 

We  lost  no  time  in  sunning  ourselves  in  your  'smiles,' 
my   dear   friend.     The   piece   arrived   to-day,   and    I 

*  The  symphony. 

t  The  first  movement  of  the  fourth  symphony  in  E  minor ;  also 
the  beginning  of  the  andante  written  on  the  last  page. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  241 

ventured  to  appropriate  to  myself  the  precious  en- 
closure which  fluttered  out  from  between  the  pages, 
as  I  seem  to  remember  expressing  my  longing  for 
the  two  songs*  in  a  begging  letter  the  other  day. 
You  are  really  too  good  to  comply  with  my  request  so 
promptly ;  I  never  dreamed  of  being  spoiled  to  such  an 
extent.  The  symphony  movement  has  already  under- 
gone a  fair  amount  of  torture  under  my  clumsy  fingers. 
It  is  a  characteristic  piece  of  ill-luck  that  we  should 
have  arranged  to  go  to  Frau  Schumann  just  to-morrow. 
We  cannot  put  it  off,  for  we  leave  on  the  loth,  and 
have  our  hands  full  in  the  meantime.  The  piece  only 
came  at  noon  to-day,  and  Herr  von  Kaiserfeldf  robbed 
me  of  the  greater  part  of  the  short  time  I  hoped  to 
devote  to  it,  so  I  shall  acquit  myself  badly  before  Frau 
Schumann  to-morrow,  and  am  not  sure  that  I  shall 
have  the  face  to  strum  through  the  little  I  know.  If  I 
had  had  a  little  more  time,  I  should  have  been  pleased 
and  proud  to  play  it  to  her;  but  as  it  is,  there  are 
certain  passages  I  can  hardly  make  out  at  all.  Un- 
fortunately— and  to  Heinz's  great  disgust — I  still  have 
difficulty  in  reading  the  horn  parts,  and  have  to  wrestle 
miserably  with  those  three  wicked  lines  in  the  score : 
horn  in  E,  horn  in  C  and  trumpet  in  E.     All  the  same, 

*  Brahms  had  enclosed  manuscript  copies  of  the  two  songs  which 
had  particularly  taken  her  fancy  (Op.  96,  Nos.  2  and  4). 

t  Moriz  V.  Kaiserfeld,  son  of  the  Austrian  politician  and  former 
Governor  of  the  Province  of  Steiermark,  was  devoted  to  music,  and 
a  great  admirer  of  Brahms.  When  Brahms  was  about  to  try  over 
his  new  quintet  in  F  at  Ladislaus  von  Wagner's  house  at  Alt-Aussee 
(August  19,  1882),  it  was  found  that  no  second  viola-player  was  forth- 
coming ;  whereupon  Kaiserfeld,  who,  though  a  violinist,  had  never 
had  a  viola  in  his  hand,  was  persuaded  to  undertake  the  part.  He 
acquitted  himself  so  well  that  Brahms  copied  into  his  album  the 
viola  theme  from  the  first  movement,  with  the  remark  :  '  First  viola, 
indifferent ;  second  viola,  entirely  satisfactory.' 

16 


242  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  have  gained  a  fair  idea  of  it.  It  goes  best  when  I 
don't  think  about  it,  and  some  parts  come  out  beauti- 
fully and  fill  me  with  joy.  I  know  exactly  how  the 
whole  of  the  first  subject  and  the  second  ought  to 
sound,  right  down  to  the  smallest  details,  and  will  tell 
you  all  about  my  impressions  as  soon  as  I  have  a 
minute.  But  I  do  hate  parting  from  it  so  soon,  and 
flatter  myself  that  if  you  knew  we  were  leaving  on  the 
loth  you  would  let  me  take  it  to  Hosterwitz  and  send 
it  back  from  there  on  the  15th,  on  condition  of  handhng 
it  with  the  utmost  care — *  My  plaidie  to  the  angry  airt, 
I'd  shelter  it,  I'd  shelter  it !'  However,  it  is  too  late  to 
ask  you  now,  and  I  must  of  course  obey  orders.  After 
all,  we  have  plenty  to  thank  you  for  as  it  is. 

I  must  do  a  little  more  practising,  so  good-bye  in 
haste,  and  a  thousand  blessings.  I  love  that  D  minor 
in  the  very  beginning,*  and  all  those  slurred  quavers 
on  the  sixth  pagef  just  before  the  marcato  (which  re- 
minds me  a  little  of  the  first  movement  of  the  B  flat 
major  quartet).{  The  pianissimo  with  the  diminished 
7th  on  G  sharp  and  the  quaver-figure  on  the  fiddles  is 
exquisite,  and  how  splendid  it  must  sound  with  that 
flourish  on  the  drum !  I  hope  to  write  again  soon — 
Thanking  you  once  more  for  everything,  yours  very 

sincerely, 

E.  H. 

168.  Brahms  to  Heinrich  von  Herzogenberg, 

[MiJRZZuscHLAG,  September  30,  1885.] 

I  have  made  up  my  mind  before  leaving  to  send  you 
the    Schubert    symphonies,?    though    without    really 

*  See  p.  4  of  the  score,  last  bar. 

t  P.  7  of  the  score,  first  and  following  bars. 

\  P.  8  of  the  score,  first  bar.  §  See  Letter  149. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  243 

knowing  whether  you  want  them  I  My  latest  attack 
was  evidently  a  complete  failure — a  symphony  too  !* 
But  I  do  beg  your  dear  lady  will  not  abuse  her  pretty 
talent  for  writing  pretty  letters  by  inventing  any  belated 
fibs  for  my  benefit. 

With  kindest  regards  and  best  wishes  for  success  in 
your  new  surroundings,  yours  ever, 

J.  Brahms. 


169.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms, 

Berlin  W.,  September  31,  1885. 

The  enclosed  fragment,  t  dear  Friend,  was  written 
one  evening  at  Konigssee  three  weeks  ago  in  the  midst 
of  packing,  but  I  prudently  kept  it  back  because  I  felt 
I  was  quite  unqualified  to  criticize  the  symphony  after 
such  a  woefully  brief  acquaintance,  recollecting  a  certain 
saying  about  women's  judgments,  specially  apposite 
under  the  circumstances.^  How  glad  I  am  now  that 
I  did  not  air  my  half-formed  impressions,  for  I  know 
so  much  more  about  it  to-day — the  dear  E  minor 
movement — and  have  played  it  so  often,  in  imagina- 
tion and  at  the  piano,  devoting  to  it  practically  every 
minute  I  could  snatch  from  the  work  of  moving  in,  that 
it  has  really  become  an  old  acquaintance  to  which  many 
of  the  remarks  I  made  the  other  day  seem  quite  inap- 
plicable.    If  I  send  the  other  shred  of  a  letter  all  the 

*  As  Brahms  had  not  heard  again  from  Frau  von  Herzogenherg, 
he  concluded  that  her  earlier  remarks  had  only  been  a  cloak  for  her 
embarrassment,  and  that  the  symphony  had  failed  to  please  either 
the  Herzogenbergs  or  Frau  Schumann. 

t  See  the  addition  to  this  letter,  dated  September  8. 

X  '  In  their  loves  and  hatreds  there  is  sometimes  reason  ;  never  in 
their  judgments  and  opinions'  (Goethe). 

1 6 — 2 


244  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

same,  it  is  with  the  idea  that  you  might  be  interested 
in  following  the  workings  of  a  plain  person's  mind  in 
chronological  order. 

I  can  now  trace  the  hills  and  valleys  so  clearly  that 
I  have  lost  the  impression  of  its  being  a  complicated 
movement;*  or  rather  I  no  longer  look  upon  the  com- 
plication I  read  into  it  as  detrimental  to  its  effect  in 
anyway.  At  worst  it  seems  to  me  as  if  a  great  master 
had  made  an  almost  extravagant  display  of  his  skill ! 
I  was  glad  to  see  how  great  an  effect  it  could  have 
when  I  played  it  to  my  sister  at  Hosterwitz.  She  was 
quite  carried  away  by  the  general  sound  and  character 
of  the  movement  in  spite  of  the  inadequate  perform- 
ance, and  she  is,  I  may  say,  a  good  example  of  the  in- 
telligent but  wholly  uninitiated  listener.  She  never 
noticed  the  points  with  which  we  were  chiefly  con- 
cerned—  the  ingenious  combination  of  the  themes, 
the  massing  together  of  separate  links,  but  simply 
enjoyed  what  she  heard.  Well,  and  it  is  the  same 
with  me  now  that  I  have  duly  absorbed  it  all :  it  is 
all  simple  enjoyment,  and  I  have  a  furious  longing  to 
hear  it.f 

I  expect  wonders  from  the  actual  performance,  as 
a  whole  and  in  detail.  There  is  one  passage  particu- 
larly, at  the  close  of  the  development,  where  the  first 
subject  makes  its  entry  in  semibreves,  which  I  imagine 
must  sound  wonderfully  fine  and  mysterious,  not  to 
speak  of  its  amazing  cleverness  and  delicacy.     How 

*  Hanslick  had  at  first  the  same  impression.  When  Brahms  played 
it  with  Ignaz  Briill  on  two  pianos  to  a  few  of  his  friends  in  Vienna, 
Hanslick,  who  was  present,  sighed  heavily  after  the  first  movement, 
and  remarked  :  '  Really,  you  know,  it  sounds  to  me  like  two 
tremendously  witty  people  quarrelling.' 

t  P.  20  of  the  score,  bar  5. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY 


245 


splendid  that  C  major  part  must  be  with  the  quaver- 
figure  ! — 


Fd-# • ^ 


Then  farther  on  the  (apparent)  chord  of  the  6th  on  G, 
which  is  merely  a  use  of  the  3rd,  as  a  basis  for  the 
arabesque-like  figure  with  its  D  sharp  and  F  sharp;! 
and  before  that  the  beautiful  section  in  the  develop- 
ment, so  exquisitely  prepared  by  these  bars, 


-f^-^ 


e 


-F-^ 


th 


X 


^i 


with  which  I  fall  more  and  more  in  love : 


iJ: 


flp: 


^^-bJ- 


£ 


-^- 


2^ 


f- 


-r- 


ti 


P 


u 


^  ^<Lj^^ 


etc. 


Indeed,  I  am  enamoured  of  the  whole  of  the  develop- 
ment, with  its  masculine  terseness  and  intensely 
emotional  character. 

The  lovely  second  subject  sounds  tender  and  trans- 
parent, but  I  could  wish  its  melodious  character  were 

*  The  first  G  sharp  in  the  third  bar  is  a  slip  of  the  pen,  or  a  case 
of  defective  memory.     It  should  be  G. 

t  See  p.  20  of  the  score,  bar  14.  |  P.  16,  bar  11. 

§  P.  16,  bar  15.     The  passage  is  not  quoted  quite  accurately. 


246 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


not  cut  short  so  soon  by  the  touch  of  agitation  in  the 
new  figure : 


f; 


'^-nr^  r  wr-^^' h^ 


^ 


k- 


1 — ^w- 


y^ 


The  coda  is  no  less  admirable;  the  subject  in  the 
basSjt  the  syncopated  chords,  the  chromatic 

-I 


'■*¥ 


working  up  to  the  powerful 


m 


¥P 


^fe^=^^^^=d^ 


¥=t 


and,  later  on,  the  incisive 


m 


8va. 


^ 


1^ 

7~>  .. 


:izj 


¥ 


i 


m 


^^t 


iL% 


!• 


1  I 

'  (fiAe !) 

all  pressing  forward   to  the   close  with   such  a  fine 
impetus,  lend   the  whole   movement  a   massivity  for 

*  P.  10,  bar  10.  t  p.  29,  bar  4. 

I  Probably  p.  29,  bar  17.  §  P.  30,  bars  4  and  5. 

II  P.  30,  bar  12.     The  various  inaccuracies  are  all  due  to  quoting 
from  memory. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  247 

which  one  is  hardly  prepared  by  the  lyric  tendency 
of  the  first  subject. 

But  if  I  were  to  say  everything  I  should  have  to 
quote  from  every  page,  and  even  your  good  nature 
might  find  that  too  great  a  strain. 

I  was  deep  in  my  letter  just  now  when  your  strange 
post-card  to  Heinz — written  yesterday — arrived.  (How 
quickly  it  came  !)  What  can  you  possibly  mean  by  the 
*  complete  failure '  of  your  attack  ?  An  exciting  Sunday 
afternoon  spent  with  your  symphony,  a  sleepless  night 
and  a  sunny  morning  walk  with  the  score  in  my  macin- 
tosh (and — in  disjointed  fragments — in  my  heart)  on 
Monday  to  Frau  Schumann's  mountain,  her  dear 
flushed  cheeks  as  she  listened,  and  my  own  agitation 
over  the  mission  for  which  I  was  so  inadequately 
equipped — all  these  form  a  memory  as  precious  almost 
as  any  I  possess,  and  yet  you  go  and  say  those  horrid 
things !  Heinrich  sends  word  that,  if  he  had  not  such 
a  talkative  wife,  he  would  not  forego  the  pleasure  of 
thanking  you  himself  for  sending  us  the  symphony- 
movement  ;  also  he  begs  and  implores  you  to  send  the 
continuation.  He  is  accustomed  to  a  wider  range,  and 
does  not  need  to  concentrate  his  attention  nervously 
on  the  one  part,  like  myself  Consequently  he  allowed 
himself  to  fall  in  love  with  the  beginning  of  the  second 
movement,  and  is  clamouring  for  more.  Surely,  having 
said  A  you  might  as  well  say  B,*  particularly  when 
your  name  is  Brahms  ! 

I  hope  you  will  always  continue  your  kindness  to 
us,  dear  Friend,  for  it  means  so  much,  so  very  much, 
particularly  here  where  we  are  like  bleating  sheep, 
straying  over  the  bleak  hillside  without  finding  a  single 

*  A  common  German  proverb,  perhaps  the  nearest  equivalent  to 
'  C'est  le  premier  pas  qui  coute.' — Tr. 


248  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

blade  of  grass.  It  is  a  great  consolation  and  resource 
to  have  Spitta  for  a  neighbour;  he  is  growing  so 
broad  and  free  in  his  views,  and  has  attained  that 
true  liberality  of  intellect  which  is  the  logical  develop- 
ment of  the  one-sidedness  of  a  strong  personality.  He 
has  mellowed,  too,  in  spite  of  his  stern  attitude  in 
matters  concerning  art,  and  is  altogether  a  profitable 
acquaintance. 

I  played  him  your  two  songs,*  and  he  jumped  up 
and  began  to  sing  them  too,  being  quite  at  one 
with  us  in  thinking  them  rare  specimens.  How 
glad  I  am  to  have  them  as  a  gift  from  you — and  how 
grateful ! 

Good-bye  for  to-day.  If  I  did  not  write  sooner,  you 
know  me  well  enough  to  believe  that  it  was  an  impos- 
sibility. There  was  too  much  work  to  be  done.  Thank 
Heaven  I  am  strong,  and  able  to  do  it !  The  summer 
set  me  up  wonderfully.  Good-bye.  Heinrich  looks 
forward  with  me  to  the  symphony. 

LiSL. 

[^Enclosure.^ 

KoNiGSSEE,  September  8,  1885. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — We  went  to  Vordereck 
yesterday,  and  I  played  your  symphony  movement 
to  the  dear  woman  as  well  as  I  could.  It  was  much 
like  a  bad  first  reading  by  a  scratch  orchestra,  but  she 
very  kindly  assured  me  she  had  understood  how  you 
meant  it  to  sound,  and  I  felt  very  glad  and  thankful. 
Our  outing  took  up  the  whole  day,  and  to-day  I  have 
been  rummaging,  and  had  visitors  into  the  bargain, 
although    I    managed   to   steal   a  few  glances   at  the 

*  Op.  96,  Nos.  2  and  4. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  249 

score.  It  is  gradually  growing  plainer  and  more  real 
to  me,  and  I  am  always  making  fresh  discoveries.  I 
will  try  and  tell  you  all  my  impressions,  but  I  am 
more  than  ever  conscious — as  I  told  Heinz  on  the 
way  home  yesterday — of  the  cruel  fate  which  robs 
our  opinions  of  all  their  delicacy  and  bloom  as  soon 
as  we  try  to  formulate  them,  just  as  the  butterfly  will 
shake  the  down  from  his  wings,  to  rebuke  his  would- 
be  captors  for  attempting  to  lay  hands  on  anything  so 
transient,  to  confine  such  an  emblem  of  freedom.  Your 
piece  affects  me  curiously :  the  more  penetration  I 
bring  to  bear  on  it,  the  more  impenetrable  it  becomes  ; 
the  more  stars  define  themselves  in  the  twilight  glow, 
which  at  first  served  to  hide  them  ;  the  more  distinct 
sources  of  joy  do  I  have,  some  expected,  some  un- 
expected ;  and  the  more  plainly  can  I  trace  the  great 
central  driving  power  which  gives  unity  to  the  complex 
work.  One  never  wearies  of  straining  eyes  and  ears 
to  grasp  all  the  clever  turns,  all  the  strange  illumin- 
ating effects  of  rhythm,  harmony  and  colour,  or  of 
admiring  your  fine  chisel  for  its  firm  and  delicate 
strokes.  Indeed,  the  possibilities  are  so  inexhaustible 
that  one  experiences  the  joys  of  a  discoverer  or  a 
naturalist  at  every  new  evidence  of  your  creative 
ingenuity. 

But  this  is  just  where  a  vague  doubt  comes  creeping 
in,  and  'just  where  '  this  really  is  is  what  I  cannot 
clear  up  to  my  own  satisfaction,  much  less  put  it  into 
intelligible  language.  I  have  the  feeling  that  this 
work  of  your  brain  is  designed  too  much  with  a  view 
to  microscopic  inspection — just  as  if  its  beauties  were 
not  there  for  every  simple  music-lover  to  see,  as  if  it 
were  a  tiny  world  for  the  wise  and  the  initiated  in 
which  the  common  people  'that  walk  in  darkness'  could 


250  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

have  but  a  slender  portion.  Many  passages  I  only 
discovered  with  my  e^^es,  and  had  to  confess  that 
without  that  aid  1  should  only  have  heard  them 
through  the  medium  of  my  understanding,  not 
through  the  natural  channel  of  the  senses.  Even  if 
you  ascribe  this  to  the  abstract  nature  of  my  know- 
ledge of  the  work,  which  must,  of  course,  be  heard  to 
have  all  its  power  revealed,  there  is  still  some  truth  in 
it — if  not,  I  shall  be  delighted  to  be  proved  mistaken. 

Yet  it  seems  to  me  that,  if  its  actual  appeal  proves 
simple  and  direct,  the  effect  is  only  gained  at  the  cost 
of  all  that  tangled  overgrowth  of  ingeniously  inter- 
woven detail,  which  must  be  overlooked  if  one  would 
taste  and  enjoy  the  fruit  itself.  It  means  a  regular 
chase  after  the  fragments  of  this  subject  or  that ;  we 
grow  quite  nervous  indeed,  and  scent  a  trail  even 
where  there  is  none.  We  feel  we  should  like  to 
fold  our  hands  and  shut  our  eyes  and  be  stupid  for 
once,  leaning  on  the  composer  to  rest  instead  of  his 
driving  us  so  relentlessly  afield.  We  know  all  the  time 
that  we  are  growing  under  his  hands,  that  no  one  else 
has  such  keen  vision,  or  can  exercise  our  intellects  so 
powerfully ;  but  we  have  followed  him  on  other  occa- 
sions when  the  paths  were  pleasant  as  well  as  steep, 
and  it  is  of  these  we  dream  when  we  look  forward  to 
another  journey. 

Don't  you  see,  that  is  why  the  working  out  makes 
the  strongest  appeal?  There  one  is  prepared  to  find  a 
tangle  of  heavy  undergrowth  with  spirit-faces  {reve- 
nants)  peering  through  the  darkness,  to  follow  the 
tiny  streams  which  detach  themselves  and  then  flow 
together  again ;  but  if  the  beginning  or  the  end  of  a 
movement  is  decked  out  with  so  much  elaboration,  it 
loses  something  of  its  potency.     As  an  example   of 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY 


251 


what  I  mean,  take  the  third  page,  where  the  fiddles 
are  given  this  scrappy  version  of  the  subject : 


It  sounds  very  complicated,  because  the  essential  is 
made  to  appear  accessory  to  the  non-essential,  the 
principal  subject  an  accompaniment  to  the  new  figure 
introduced  by  the  wood-wind  and  violas. 


^s^i 


We  have  barely  become  acquainted  with  the 
principal  subject  before  we  are  expected  to  recognize 
it  in  its  changed  form  and  take  in  the  full  effect. 
There  is  a  similar  case  at  the  close  of  the  develop- 
ment, where  the  principal  subject  is  very  difficult  to 
recognize  in  the  syncopated  pizzicato  of  the  fiddles, 
because  of  the  distracting  crotchet-triplets  on  the 
wood-wind : 


which  tempt  one  to  repose — and  oblivion  If 

♦  «  «  ♦  « 


170.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  October  3,  1885.] 

My  very  best  thanks.     As  for  my  post-card,  please 
to  remember  that  you  were  the  first,  the  only  people 

*  See  score,  p.  5,  bar  11.  t  P.  18,  bar  10. 

X  Here  the  letter  breaks  off. 


252  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

to  see  the  symphony,  and  that  I  am  far  from  being  so 
vain  as  to  expect  praise.  If  I  could,  I  would  write 
more;  and  if  I  could,  I  would  gladly  send  you  more. 
But  I  am  writing  hard,  and  shall  be  able  to  try  the 
thing  over  at  leisure,  and  at  Meiningen,  very  shortly. 
— With  sincerest  thanks,  yours,  j   gj^ 

171.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  October  10,  1885.] 

My  dear  Friend, — You  will  now  be  able  to  say  that 
gratitude  has  not  vanished  from  off  the  face  of  the  earth. 
At  least,  I  know  of  no  better  way  to  demonstrate  the 
fact  than  to  send  you  this  arrangement.*  You  will 
now  be  able  to  view  the  landscape  at  your  ease — 
through  smoked  glasses.  You  will  also  have  a  chance 
of  modifying  your  criticism  very  considerably  ! 

The  Scherzo  is  fairly  noisy  with  three  tympani, 
triangle  and  piccolo. 

I  question  whether  you  will  have  the  patience  to  sit 
through  the  Finale,  f 

I  enclose  a  second  copy,  but  much  prefer  to  think 
of  you  both  sitting  at  one  piano  to  play  it. 

To-morrow  1  go  to  Meiningen.  It  is  possible  that 
Brodsky  may  play  my  concerto  there  as  well. 

Let  me  have  a  letter  there  very  soon — by  special 
request ! 

It  is  very  doubtful  whether  I  shall  inflict  the  piece 
on  anybody  else  after  this.  Certainly  Btilow  would 
like  to  begin  with  it  at  Frankfurt  straight  away  on 

,  *  Brahms  had  arranged  the  symphony  as  a  duet  for  two  pianos. 

t  The  movement  is  in  the  form  of  a  strict  passacaglia,  with  the 
eight-bars  theme  varied  in  thirty  different  ways.  Brahms  himself 
and  others  to  whom  he  had  shown  the  movement  were  afraid  it 
might  prove  too  monotonous  as  a  Finale. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  253 

November  3rd.  They  choose  to  announce  it  here,  too, 
at  their  own  risk.* 

And  now  let  me  thank  you  again  very  much  for 
your  most  kind  letter,  which  was  really  essential  to 
me.  I  am,  you  see,  much  more  modest  about  my 
things  than  you  imagine,  t 

I  should  like  to  write  more — on  other  topics,  too — 
but  have  no  time.  Besides,  I  infinitely  prefer  a  com- 
fortable chat,  not  on  paper.  I  shall  surely  see  you 
this  winter  in  Berlin. — With  kindest  regards  to  you 

both,  yours, 

J.  Br. 

172.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg, 

[Meiningen,  October,  1885.] 

Dear  Friend, — Many  thanks  for  your  kind  letter. 
My  letter-writing  pen  cannot  contain  itself  for  joy  at 
the  beautiful  example  set  by  your  wife. 

It  dances  across  the  sheet  just  anyhow;  I  can 
hardly  control  it  sufficiently  t  to  tell  you  that  I  grow 
more  impatient  every  day  to  have  my  things  back,  one 
for    playing,   the   other   for    corrections.  §      Sorry   to 

*  Dr.  Richter  had  announced  it  by  way  of  a  novelty  at  the  Vienna 
Philharmonic. 

t  Brahms  had  been  feeling  very  subdued  in  consequence  of  the 
lukewarm  reception  his  new  and  very  inaccessible  symphony  had 
met  with  from  his  intimate  friends  at  a  private  performance,  and 
was  prepared  to  put  it  aside  altogether  should  it  fail  to  please  at  the 
Meiningen  rehearsal. 

X  These  two  lines  are  written  slanting  across  the  inside  of  the  sheet 
in  the  original. 

§  Brahms,  whose  depression  had  not  been  dispelled  by  the  rehearsal 
of  his  symphony  at  Meiningen,  was  again  upset  by  receiving  no 
acknowledgment  of  the  music  he  had  sent  Frau  von  Herzogenberg. 
He  therefore  demanded  the  duet  back,  and  indulged  in  a  little  sarcasm 
about  her  expected  letter  which  had  never  arrived.  The  whole  of 
his  letter  bears  evidence  to  his  irritabihty  at  the  time. 


254  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

trouble  you  to  pack  them  up.  But  you  have  often 
said  A  before ;  this  is  a  supplementary  B.* — Kindest 
regards.     Yours, 

J.  Br. 


173.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin  W.,  October  20,  1885. 

My  dear  Friend, — I  came  home  from  Dresden — 
where  I  had  been  saying  good-bye  to  the  Florentine 
people!  before  their  long  absence — last  night,  and 
found  your  welcome  parcel  {  awaiting  me.  Heinz  had 
told  me  there  was  a  delightful  surprise  in  store,  but 
without  saying  what  it  was.  Imagine  my  delight  when 
— as  I  could  not  wait  until  this  morning — he  showed  me 
the  piano  arrangement  before  going  to  bed.  *  Did 
you  write  and  thank  that  dear  Brahms  at  once  ?'  I 
asked.  *  No,'  he  said,  *  for  you  were  to  have  come 
home  on  Sunday.'  And  that  is  true;  I  was  obliged 
to  stay  and  help  those  infants,  §  and  here  we  are  at  the 
2oth,  and  it  will  be  another  day  before  you  receive  any 
thanks  from  the  Herzogenherg  household,  whom  you 
have  made  happy  once  more. 

Heinrich  has  been  burying  himself  in  your  manu- 
script, and  gives  the  most  fantastic  account  of  the 
finale,  which  he  assures  me  is  unlike  anything  I  have 
ever  seen.  He  had  to  go  straight  to  his  classes  this 
morning,  but  we  shall  both  go  to  the  piano  after 
dinner  and  see  what  we  can  accomplish  on  one  instru- 
ment, with  good-will  and  unanimity  of  purpose.  Un- 
fortunately, we  bequeathed  that  old  horror  of  ours  to 
the  Bachverein,  and  it  will  be  a  day  or  two  before  we 

*  See  Letter  169.  t  Her  father,  mother,  and  sister. 

I  See  Letter  171.  §  Meaning  her  family. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  255 

get  a  new  piano  in.  At  worst  I  can  lie  down  flat  on 
the  floor,  like  Mozart  with  the  Bach  cantatas,*  and 
take  in  both  parts  at  once. 

If  the  fable  about  ear-burning  were  true,  you  must 
have  had  a  good  deal  of  it  while  the  two  Herzogen- 
bergs  relieved  their  grateful  hearts  by  singing  your 
praise,  sir.  We  were  so  happy  to  have  this  proof  of 
your  friendship.  You  evidently  think  nothing  too 
good  for  us !  But  when  shall  we  hear  the  symphony 
on  an  orchestra  ? 

If  I  might,  I  should  like  to  ask  you  to  send  it  to 
Joachim.  After  all,  his  devotion  to  you  is  as  strong 
as  anyone's  possibly  could  be,  and  has  nothing  half- 
hearted or  effeminate  about  it.  He  is  really  one  of 
the  few  people  who  have  artistic  conviction  and  taste 
in  place  of  the  multiplicity  of  tastes  which  has  become 

the   rule.     B is,  unfortunately,  one   of  those  for 

whom  a  novelty  has  much  the  same  attraction  as  any 
red  rag  for  a  bull.  It  is  practically  all  the  same  to 
him  from  which  quarter  the  wind  blows  it — Brahms 
or  Bruckner,  Dvorak,  Tchaikovsky,  or  any  other. 
Now  I  think  that  is  dreadful.  As  I  often  say,  of  what 
good  to  be  uplifted  by  the  best  things,  if  you  are  satis- 
fied with  the  worst  the  next  moment  ?  But  these 
ideas  are  out  of  date,  and  our  convictions,  which  are 
of  mature  growth  and  religious  intensity,  are  often 
dismissed  as  *  one-sided  bigotry,'  while  the  pitying 
smile  which  accompanies  the  words  may  be  read  as 

*  When  Mozart  was  at  Leipzig  in  1789,  he  heard  a  performance  of 
Bach's  cantata  Sitig  unto  the  Lord  a  New  Song,  by  the  Thomaner ; 
and  on  learning  that  there  was  a  whole  collection  of  Bach's  cantatas 
there,  but  no  complete  scores,  he  had  the  written  parts  brought  to 
him,  spread  them  all  around  him,  and  was  not  to  be  moved  from  the 
spot  until  he  read  them  all  through  (see  Rochlitz  in  the  Allgemeine 
Musikalische  Zeitung,  1799,  No.  8). 


256  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

meaning:  *  we  take  a  broader  point  of  view.'  It  is 
enough  to  infuriate  one  sometimes. 

But  I  have  never  seen  a  trace  of  this  'breadth'  (trans- 
late superficiality  mixed  with  cowardice !)  in  Joachim, 
and  I  therefore  count  him  among  the  true  Brahms 
lovers,  as  distinct  from  the  other  distressingly  numerous 
class,  who  merely  follow  a  fashion  without  possessing  a 
spark  of  intelligent  interest.  Since  the  Wagner  set* 
took  you  up,  there  has  been  a  serious  increase  in  their 
numbers,  as  you  will  probably  have  noticed. 

I  am  curious  to  know  how  you  will  like  B.'s  playing 
of  the  concerto.  We  thought  his  various  tricks,  his 
exaggerated  tremolo  and  glissando  and  all  the  methods 
he  employs  so  lavishly  to  secure  melting  effects, 
rather  more  pronounced,  if  anything.  It  spoils  the 
pleasure  one  feels  one  would  otherwise  have  in  such 
a  genuinely  gifted  player.  But  he  has  always  been 
worshipped  at  Leipzig ;  no  one  has  ventured  a  word 
of  warning  except  Bernsdorf,  whose  censure  is  more 
likely  to  strengthen  one  in  crime.  If  you  could  warn 
him  gently,  who  knows  what  good  results  it  might  have! 

But  I  must  stop.  You  w411  certainly  have  no  time 
for  reading  letters  at  Meiningen.  How  I  should  love 
to  be  there  at  your  rehearsal,  which  will  be  carried 
out  in  such  a  beautiful,  serious  spirit,  and  what  would 
I  not  give  to  hear  that  theme  in  semibreves  and  the 
flirtation  between  C  and  Ab  major  !t 

Do  tell  me  your  impressions  on  first  hearing  it,  the 
first  movement,  and  whether  everything  comes  out 
well — the  return  of  the  first  subject  that  first  time 
with  the  quaver  accompaniment  on  the  winds,t  and 

*  Refers  to  Fritzsch,  whose  paper,  the  Musikalisches  Wochenblait, 
strongly  championed  Wagner. 

t  Score  of  the  E  minor  symphony,  p.  20,  bar  8.         %  P.  5,  bar  12. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  257 

the  syncopated  passage  in  G  sharp  minor  (in  the 
development)  ;*  and  please  tell  me,  too,  whether  the 
multiplicity  of  episodes  is  as  noticeable  when  hearing 
as  when  reading  it — ah,  when  shall  I  ever  hear  it 
myself! — and  whether  you  are  duly  carried  away  by 
the  second  subject.f  And  are  you  not  sorry  you  were 
in  such  haste  to  repent  your  display  of  emotion  and 
insert  those  dotted  crotchetsj  to  blot  out,  as  far  as 
possible,  the  fast  zu  ernst\  idea  ?  For  that  will  always 
be  one  of  my  grievances. 

Further,  let  me  say  in  all  humility  that  the  apparent 
return  of  the  first  subject  (which  leads  one  to  expect 
the  repetition  of  the  first  part,  though  you  resisted  the 
temptation  out  of  consideration  for  Fritzsch  ||)  in  E 
minor  is,  to  me,  very  disturbing,  and  decidedly 
weakens  the  effect  of  the  real  E  minor  when  the  first 
subject  really  comes.  Heinrich  and  I  have  quarrelled 
over  it  every  day  up  to  now.  He  invariably  remarks 
when  I  am  playing  it  to  him,  and  reach  that  point :  '  You 
are  wrong  there ;  Brahms  would  never  bring  in  E  minor 
so  soon.'  Of  course  I  insist  that  I  am  right,  relying 
on  my  memory,  which  seldom  fails  me  in  a  question 
of  harmony.  *  I  only  wish  it  were  not  E  minor,'  I 
say;  'but  it  undoubtedly  is.'  And  you  know  it  does 
go  like  this,  just  after  the  half-close  on  F  sharp  : 

his 


!•-  J  ,    fe 


*  P.  18,  bar  8.  t  P.  8,  bar  5.  J  P.  10,  bar  3. 

§  The  inscription  over  the  tenth  of  Schumann's  Kinder szenen. 

II  The  Musikalisches  Wochenblati  had  contained  arguments  for  the 
rejection  of  the  classical  sonata  movement,  in  particular  the  repetition 
of  the  first  part. 

^  See  score,  p.  13,  bar  5. 

17 


258  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

after  which  the  subject  enters  in  full.  Don't  you 
think  you  could  do  an  even  finer  modulation  there, 
and  bring  in  the  E  with  more  blissful,  more  powerful 
effect  ?  If  I  were  a  Saxon,  I  should  now  say,  '  please 
consider  this  unsaid';  being  other,  however,  and 
assured  of  your  imperturbable  kindness  and  patience, 
I  will  simply  thank  you  again  and  yet  again  for  every- 
thing. As  soon  as  I  know  the  other  movements,  you 
will  let  me  whistle  my  delight  in  a  neat  counterpoint 
to  it,  I  hope. 

But  please  write  one  little  post-card,  or  else  I  shall 
think  you  are  really  angry  for  once. 

And  please  when  do  you  consider  we  may  hope  to 
see  you  here  ?  As  soon  as  you  are  back  in  Vienna  I 
am  going  to  send  you  some  new  songs  of  Heinz's,  if  I 
may.  He  does  not  want  to  be  bothering  you  perpetu- 
ally, but  there  is  one,  a  *  Phrygian,'  which  pleases  me 
particularly. 

If  you  think  it  at  all  the  proper  thing,  please  present 

my  respects  to  the  family — the  friendly  members,  or 

at  least  the  Countess,  to  whom  I  am  really  grateful 

for  recommending  me  the  fine   Ortel  treatment.*     It 

has    made    me    a    champion    runner!  —  Yours    very 

sincerely, 

E.  H. 


174.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Meiningen,  October  22,  1885.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  wish  very  much  I  could  hear 
more,  though  it  would  certainly  be  nicer  if  you  could 
both  go  comfortably  to  the  rehearsal  with  me.     You 

♦  Dr.  Oriel's  treatment  was  for  heart  disease. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  259 

would  be  able  to  listen  to  the  first  movement  with  the 
utmost  serenity,  I  am  sure. 

But  I  hate  to  think  of  doing  it  anywhere  else,  where 
I  could  not  have  these  informal,  special  rehearsals,  but 
hurried  ones  instead,  with  the  performance  forced 
on  me  before  the  orchestra  had  a  notion  of  the 
piece. 

There  will  be  a  repetition  of  the  symphony  here  on 
November  ist,  I  expect,  and  at  Frankfurt  on  the  3rd. 
Please  let  Frau  Schumann  have  the  music  by  the  ist 
at  latest. 

What  you  say  about  Joachim  is  no  news  to  me.  I 
heartily  endorse  it  all,  and  he  knows  it.  .  .  . 

But  I  have  no  more  time,  as  I  am  due  at  rehearsal. 

Frau  von  Heldburg  is  not  here,  I  am  sorry  to  say. 
She  is  being  nursed  at  Schloss  Altenburg*  by  the 
Duke's  nurse  after  a  severe  illness.  But  His  High- 
ness is  expected  one  of  these  days,  and  will  come  and 

listen. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.  Br. 

175.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Meiningen,  October  24,  1885.] 

Dear  Friend, — Please  arrange  for  Frau  Schumann 
to  receive  the  music  without  fail  on  Saturday,  the  last 
of  the  month,  at  latest !  I  don't  expect  to  hear  that  the 
piano  arrangement  has  given  you  much  satisfaction, 
though  I  think  you  would  have  moments  of  satisfac- 
tion here.     Be  sure  you  send  me  the  songs  to  Vienna, 

the  *  Phrygian  '  included  ! — Ever  yours, 

J.  Br. 

*  A  slip  for  Altenstein. 


17 — 2 


26o  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

176.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Berlin  W.,  October  30,  1885.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — The  symphony  leaves  us 
to-day  according  to  instructions,  and,  while  shedding 
my  parting  tear,  let  me  thank  you  with  all  my  heart 
for  presenting  us  with  the  piano  score  so  promptly. 
■It  means  seeing  it  through  smoked  glass,  of  course, 
but,  thank  Heaven !  we  know  enough  Brahms  to  be 
able  to  hear  it  in  imagination.  We  often  felt  we  knew 
just  as  well  what  the  other  movements  should  be  like 
as  the  first,  whose  real  physiognomy  has  been  revealed 
to  us. 

This  new  manifestation  of  your  power  has  made  us 
so  happy,  dear  Friend,  and  we  wish  we  had  the  knack 
of  telling  you  so  in  a  convincing  way.  There  must 
be  many  privileged  people  who  can. 

The  Andante  has  that  freshness  and  distinction  of 
character  with  which  only  you  could  endow  it,  and 
even  you  have  had  recourse  to  certain  locked  chambers 
of  your  soul  for  the  first  time.  How  free  and  flowing 
it  is,  too !  Some  people  will  find  this  a  hard  nut  to 
crack, 


fc^EEt 


"J-Klrii— 

but  to  me  it  is  a  harshness  of  the  pleasant,  bracing 
order.  On  the  other  hand,  I  have  qualms  about  the 
passage  near  the  close  : 

*  See  score,  p.  32,  bar  5. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY 


261 


?|E 


m 


The  D  sharp  in  conjunction  with  the  lower  D  would 
not  matter  in  itself,  but  the  whole  progression  of  the 
three  upper  parts,  as  against  the  marked  repose  in  the 
bass,  jars  indescribably.  Must  it  be,  dear  Friend?  But 
to  return.  How  exquisitely  melodious  it  all  is ! — the 
parting  phrase  of  the  theme  in  E  major  : 


the  beautiful  way  in  which  the  second  subject  is 
ushered  in  by  an  abridged  version  of  itself!  How 
every  'cellist,  beginning  with  Hausmann,|  to  whom  we 
played  it  yesterday,  will  revel  in  this  glorious,  long- 
drawn-out  song  breathing  of  summer !  And  these, 
I  presume,  are  the  cherries  which  refuse  to  ripen  at 
Miirzzuschlag!§  The  close,  too,  is  delicious,  with  its 
modulation  to  C,  which  carries  one  back  so  happily  to 
the  opening  bars,  with  their  tinge  of  the  Phrygian 
mode.ll  The  lowered  supertonic  in  the  final  cadence 
is  peculiarly  satisfying,  and  we  rise  from  this  feast 
in  a  quiet,  happy,  satisfied  frame  of  mind,  with  some 
desire  for  an  interval  in  which  to  attune  ourselves  for 
the  irresistible  rough  humour  of  the  Scherzo ;  but  it  is 

*  P.  43,  bar  I.  t  See  score,  p.  41,  bar  i. 

I  Robert  Haiismann  (b.  1852),  professor  and  soloist,  a  member  of 
the  Joachim  quartet. 

§  Cf.  Letter  164.  ||  P.  43,  bar  7. 


262 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


not  long  before  we  surrender  heart  and  soul  to  its 
versatile  gaiety  and  impetus. 

The  effect  when  actually  played  must,  of  course, 
be  very  different  from  the  effect  produced  on  that 
necessary  evil  men  call  a  piano.  Those  semiquaver 
chords 


J— g-H 

# 

9 

w       W 

on  the  F  are  so  playful,  so  frivolous  almost,  and  yet  so 
lovely  as  crotchets,  farther  on,  with  the  syncopated 
basses t — the  old  made  new  by  your  great  unfailing 
skill !     How  cleverly  ih^  piano  passage 


leads  up  to  the  second  subject,  which  savours  as  clearly 
of  the  volkslied  as  if  some  tender  youth  were  piping  it 
on  his  flute  outside!  That  scale  of  3rds§  (obviously 
for  the  wood-wind)  in  D  minor  must  be  droll,  too ;  also 
the  double  3rds||  afterwards,  which  reduce  a  poor 
second-piano  player  to  despair.  The  pianissimo  parting 
phrase  is  bewitching, 

.11 


and   the   development  just   after  it   should   be   most 
effective.      How   beautiful    the   soft   C   sharp   minor 


*  P.  44,  bar  6. 
§  P.  49,  bar  9. 


t  P.  46,  bar  7. 
II  P.  50,  bar  2. 


I  P.  49,  bar  I. 
T  P.  51,  bar  II. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  263 

passage  is  at  the  end,*  when  all  the  gay  apprentices 
slouch  home  from  work,  and  the  peace  of  evening  sets 
in,  while  the  reminiscence  of  all  this  merriment  becomes 
lyrical  {that  subject  lyrical!)  in  D  flat  ;t  and,  most 
beautiful  of  all,  the  soft  entry  of  the  horns  and 
trombones  at  poco  meno  presto  !% 

And  now  for  my  one  grief  with  respect  to  this 
movement :  all  that  beauty,  all  that  rich  tenderness, 
and  then  the  rapid — almost  brutally  rapid — return  to 
C  major !  Believe  me,  it  is  as  if  you  had  played  us 
some  glorious  thing  on  the  piano,  and  then,  to  ward 
off  all  emotion  and  show  your  natural  coarseness, 
snort  into  your  beard  :  *  All  rot,  all  rot,  you  know !' 
It  hurts  so,  this  forcible  C  major;  it  is  no  modulation, 
but  an  operation — at  least,  so  I  feel  it,  Heaven 
forgive  me  ! 

The  whole  coda  is  exquisite.  I  look  forward  to  that 
pedal  note§  as  I  do  to  Christmas.  What  an  impetus 
it  has,  too ! — as  if  you  had  written  it  quite  breathlessly 
or  in  one  long-drawn  breath.  One  positively  expands 
and  growls  stronger  while  listening. 

As  for  the  last  movement,  shall  you  mind  if  I 
proclaim  it  my  favourite — at  least,  for  the  time  being  ? 
I  am  fascinated  by  the  theme  itself,  and  the  fascination 
grows  as  I  follow  it  through  its  various  phases,  first  in 
the  bass,  then  in  the  top  part  or  skilfully  hidden  some- 
where  in  the  middle,   and — most   impressive   of  all, 

*  P.  59,  bar  3.  t  p.  59,  bar  8. 

I  Frau  von  Herzogenberg  was  right  in  her  conjecture  as  to  the 
horns,  but  Brahms  contented  himself  with  bassoons  for  strengthening 
the  harmonies.  There  are  no  trombones  in  the  first  three  movements. 
They  are  reserved  for  the  finale^  where  they  bring  in  the  theme  of 
the  passacaglia  with  such  a  shattering  effect, 

§  P.  70,  bar  4, 


264  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

surely,  for  susceptible  listeners — in  its  trombone  effort 
in  the  golden  key  of  E  major.*  As  my  dear  Heinz 
said  at  once,  when  I  came  home  that  time  :  *  If  you  are 
at  all  like  me,  you  will  howl  over  it !'  and,  indeed,  who 
wouldn't?  It  is  the  kind  of  inspiration  only  a  good 
man  could  have.  How  splendid  it  must  sound — lucky 
trombone-players !  Didn't  the  people  go  mad  over  it, 
and  haven't  they  spoiled  you  at  Meiningen,  and  con- 
gratulated themselves  ever  so  on  the  success  of  your 
latest  effort  ?  And  we  had  to  stay  at  home  and  content 
ourselves  with  thinking  of  you.  We  were  really  models 
of  virtue  not  to  pack  up  and  go ;  but  Heinrich  really 
couldn't  leave,  and,  besides,  we  are  such  penniless 
wretches  with  the  Leipzig  house — for  which  no  tenant 
will  offer — on  our  hands. 

You  asked,  the  other  day,  whether  I  should  have 
the  patience  to  sit  through  the  last  movement.  I  can 
only  say  I  should  not  mind  if  it  were  three  times  as 
long.  Surely  it  must  go  down  with  an  audience  too, 
even  if  they  neither  understand  nor  are  able  to 
follow  the  passacaglia  form ;  for  there  is  no  laborious 
weaving  of  threads,  but  a  succession  of  novel  com- 
binations, all  imbued  with  a  vigour  that  must  have 
an  arresting,  overpowering  effect,  and  one  need  not 
be  a  musician,  thank  Heaven !  to  come  under  the 
spell. 

Why,  there  are  certain  passages  which  tug  at  one's 
very  heart-strings — that  C  major,  for  instance  : 


*  Sec  score,  p.  90,  bar  6.      t  Sec  score,  p.  102,  bar  7. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  265 

and  the  way  it  twists  upwards : 


which  anyone  can  follow !  Who  can  resist  an  emotion 
strong  enough  to  penetrate  all  that  skilful  elaboration ! 
I  call  it  sheer  coquetry  to  ask  if  we  can  sit  through  it. 

But  the  chief  thing  is,  When  are  we  going  to  hear 
it  ?  Joachim  is  dying  to  do  it.  Won't  you  let  him  have 
it  very  soon  ?  He  came  to  listen  to  it  yesterday,  and 
once  before  that,  and  shared  our  delight  in  it.  I  heard 
him  do  the  F  major  quintet  recently,  and  was  again 
impressed  by  his  wonderful  gift  of  interpretation. 
The  close  of  the  slow  movement,  which  forms  a  link 
with  the  Finale,  was  a  revelation.  I  grasped  its  full 
significance  for  the  first  time,  as  the  D  minor  hove  in 
sight,  nebulous  as  an  island  in  the  midst  of  a  dream- 
like sea.t  Heinrich  and  I,  together  with  many  others, 
were  transfixed  with  wonder.  But  enough  for  to-day, 
much  as  I  should  like  to  let  my  pen  run  on.  My  poor 
old  father  is  staying  with  us,  and  is  much  in  need  of 
my  services  as  a  secretary  and  as  a  daughter.  I  had 
really  no  time  for  this,  and  still  less  for  the  dear 
symphony,  which  I  have  not  been  able  to  learn  by 
heart,  unfortunately.  It  costs  me  many  a  pang  to  send 
it  away  to-day. 

Good-bye,  dear  Friend,  and  send  a  line  to  say  whether 

we  may  count  on  hearing  the  symphony  here  before 

long.     Thank  you  once  more,  and  accept  the  sincere 

devotion  of  your 

Herzogenbergs. 

*  See  score,  p.  102,  bar  7.  t  Op.  88,  p.  34,  bar  12. 


266  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


177.  Herzogenherg  to  Johannes  Brahms, 

[Berlin  (?),  1884.] 
Dear,  noble  Benefactor, — I  must  come  out  of 
my  shell  while  the  memory  of  our  symphony  per- 
formance* yesterday  is  still  fresh,  and  thank  you  most 
sincerely,  not  only  for  your  goodness,  but  for  the  good 
symphony.  I  made  over  the  second  piano  part  to  little 
Wolf,t  who  is  so  much  better  equipped  for  it  than 
myself,  and  was  able  to  give  myself  up  to  the  uninter- 
rupted pleasure  of  listening.  I  need  not  begin  at  the 
beginning  and  describe  all  the  phases  of  our  receptivity, 
for  you  are  so  accustomed  to  regard  my  wife's  utter- 
ances as  studies  in  two-part  counterpoint,  to  which 
I  contribute  the  steady-going  cantus  firmus  while  she 
exercises  her  discretion  on  the  eloquent,  flexible  contra- 
punctuin  floridum.  However,  they  are  both  one,  and  lay 
themselves  once  more  prostrate  at  your  feet,  ready 
to  lick  the  hand  that  administered  the  blows,  since 
the  effect  on  their  morals  has  proved  so  salutary. 
The  truth  is,  you  wield  a  club  which  silences  all 
criticism.  I  have  even  come  to  think  that  the  very 
parts  which  hurt  me  before  (primarily  a  result  of 
thumping  the  piano  so  hard)  now  make  a  great,  a  very 
special  appeal  to  me.  We  were  so  very  sorry  we 
could  not  go  to  the  Meiningen  performance,  sorrier 
than  we  allowed  ourselves  to  admit.  But  I  am  no 
longer  a  free  agent,  and  if  I  were  not  so  happy  with 
it  all — why  it  should  be  so  I  can't  think— I  should  be 
cursing  my  luck. 

Well,  and  to  whose  lot  is  it  to  fall  here  ?     Taubert, 

*  On  two  pianos  at  Herzogenberg's  house, 
t  C.  L.  Wolf  (c/  Letter  151). 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  267 

Kadecke,  Joachim,  Klindworth,  or  Mannstadt?*    And 
to  whose  lot  are  you  to  fall  here  ? 

I  must  earnestly  request  that  you  do  not  put  us  off 
with  a  flying  visit,  but  come  and  hang  up  the  good  old 
brown  overcoat  on  its  rightful  peg. 

But  my  wife  will  have  dwelt  on  all  this  at  length,  no 
doubt,  and  there  is  nothing  left  for  me,  independently, 
but  to  send  my  very  kindest  regards. — Yours, 

Herzogenberg. 

But  I  am  forgetting  your  kind  gift  of  the  Schubert 
symphonies  in  my  absorption  in  your  own,  ungrateful 
wretch  that  I  am  I  They  fell,  however,  on  receptive, 
fruitful  soil.  I  now  realize  that  the  mechanical  part 
is  not  so  very  difficult  if  only  one  has  ideas  to  work 
on.  This  trifling  point  is  the  crux  of  the  whole 
question — whether  we  succeed  in  really  producing 
anything  or  not.  On  the  whole,  I  propose  to  cram 
myself — and  my  pupils — with  counterpoint  instead  of 
turning  monk ! 

178.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

Berlin,  November  4,  1885. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  had  a  letter  from  Frau 
Schumann  yesterday,  from  which  I  gather,  to  my 
horror,  that  the  symphony  did  not  reach  Frankfurt 
until  Sunday  morning  To  assure  you  that  I  did  not 
disobey  your  orders,  I  am  writing  to  say  that  I  took 
the  parcel  to  post  on  Friday^  the  29th,  at  4  p.m.,  and, 
as  the  Frankfurt  express  only  leaves  here  at  eight, 
I  was  surely  safe  in  supposing  it  would  arrive  on 
Saturday  ?     It  distresses  me  more  than  I  can  say  to 

*  The  names  of  the  various  conductors  in  Berlin  at  that  time. 


268  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

know  that  it  did  not  arrive,  and  that  you  and  Frau 
Schumann  were  upset  in  consequence.  You  probably 
thought  it  gross  carelessness  or  neglect  on  my  part, 
and  abused  me  accordingly.  *  And  that  is  the  thanks 
I  get  for  my  kindness  and  generosity !'  I  hear  you  say, 
and  I  must  admit  you  are  justified.  It  shall  be  a 
warning  to  me  always  to  leave  a  day's  margin  on 
special  occasions.  I  should  have  sent  off  the  music 
on  Thursday  but  that  Joachim  and  Hausmann,  who 
particularly  wanted  to  hear  the  symphony,  were  not 
able  to  come  until  that  evening;  and  as  you  had  written, 
'  Saturday  at  latest  in  Frankfurt,'  we  thought  there  was 
no  criminal  risk  in  posting  it  on  Friday. 

Please  don't  be  angry  any  more.  I  am,  in  all 
seriousness,  deeply  concerned  about  it,  and  regret 
particularly  that  Frau  Schumann  had  no  opportunity 
of  taking  the  symphony  into  her  affections  before  the 
performance.* 

Just  a  line  to  set  my  mind  at  rest  and  give  us  a 
friendly  thought  in  the  midst  of  all  these  great 
occasions.  Herr  Grosser,!  who  was  at  Meiningen — • 
lucky  man ! — gave  such  a  glorious  account  of  the 
concert.  We  were  speechless  with  envy  when  he 
told  us  how  incredibly  beautiful  the  symphony 
sounded.  It  was  at  Rubinstein's  that  he  told  us,  and 
our  poor  host  must  have  listened  with  very  different 
feelings.t  We  are  having  a  little  too  much  of  his 
playing  here  just  now,  and  are  often  driven  to  the 
sad  necessity  of  quarrelling  with  him.     There  is  no 

*  At  Frankfurt  on  November  3. 

+  Julius  Grosser  (1844-  ?),  bookseller  and  journalist,  had  made 
Brahms's  acquaintance  in  Vienna. 

%  Anton  Rubinstein  was  a  declared  opponent  of  Brahms's  music^ 
of  which  he  never  played  a  note  in  public,  the  name  Brahms  being 
conspicuously  absent  from  his  famous  historical  recitals. 


RUBINSTEIN'S  RECITALS  269 

denying  that  he  has  a  whole  orchestra  in  his  fingers, 
and  the  most  exquisite  richness  of  tone  and  touch;  but 
he  seems  to  care  less  and  less  what  piece  he  is  playing, 
and  is  letting  a  certain  devil-may-care  attitude  towards 
rhythm  and  other  trifling  matters  grow  upon  him. 
One  can't  help  feeling  sorry. 

Are    the    Leipzigers    to     be    favoured    with     the 
symphony  ?     If  so,  we  are  going  I     And  Berlin  ? 

Well,  you  won't  be  angry,  will  you,  but  believe  in 
my  innocence  ! — In  haste,  yours  very  sincerely, 

E.  H. 

I  may  add  that  the  post-office  people  assured  me 
the  parcel  would  reach  Frankfurt  on  Saturday. 


179.  Brahms  to  Heinrich  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Frankfurt-am-Main,  November  5,  1885.] 

The  delay  of  the  parcel  did  not  matter  to  us  either 
here  or  at  Wiesbaden,  and  we  were  decidedly  more 
amused  than  angry.  Besides,  I  owe  you  many 
thanks  on  another  score.  But  to  the  point !  I  wrote 
to  Joachim  yesterday,  but  did  not  know  the  address, 
and  forgot  to  ask  the  Schumanns  for  it.  The  letter  is 
accordingly  addressed  '  Berlin '  tout  courts  so  Joachim 
might  make  inquiries  if  it  does  not  arrive.  There  is 
nothing  in  the  letter  but  a  cheerful  '  yes '  in  reply 
to  his. 

I  start  in  an  hour's  time,*  so  must  ask  you  to  excuse 
these  hasty  lines. — Kindest  regards  from  yours  ever, 

J.  Br. 

*  To  Holland,  via  Essen  and  Elberfeld,  for  a  series  of  concerts  in 
Amsterdam,  The  Hague,  and  Utrecht. 


270  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

1 80.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms, 

Berlin,  December  2,  1885. 

My  dear  Friend, — You  will  shortly  receive  a  visit 
from  Frau  Pruwer,  which  please  to  take  with  a  good 
grace.  We  are  responsible  for  the  invasion,  and  I 
will  tell  you  how  it  comes  about.  You  will  probably 
have  heard  of  little  Julius  Pruwer,*  who  is  studying 
with  Professor  Schmittt  in  Vienna.  He  has  also  played 
from  time  to  time  at  Bosendorfer's|  and  elsewhere. 
The  parents  are  poor — he  is  some  sort  of  minor 
official — and  have  taken  the  boy  away  from  school, 
and  are  having  him  taught  at  home  to  give  him  more 
time  for  his  music.  This  has  brought  them  into  debt, 
and  they  arranged  this  concert  tour  with  the  poor  little 
chap  to  raise  the  necessary  amount.  The  attempt  has 
failed,  however,  for  the  agent  who  had  talked  the  mother 
into  it  turned  out  a  swindler,  and  refused  to  pay  at 
the  very  first  stage,  which  was  Berlin. 

Frau  Pruwer  had  a  letter  to  Barth,§  who,  together 
with  Rudorff,  ||  heard  the  boy  play.  They  were  quite 
amazed  at  his  talent,  and  not  less  horrified  at  the 
barbarous  method  by  which  he  had  evidently  been 
taught.     The  impression  made  was  so  powerful,  and 

*  Julius  Pruwer  is  described  in  Theodor  Helm's  Kalender  fiir  die 
musikalische  Welt  as  'prodigy,'  'pianist,'  and  (1894)  'concert  pianist' 
successively.     He  is  now  conductor  of  the  Breslau  Opera. 

t  Hans  Schmitt  (b.  1835),  pianist  and  composer,  professor  at  the 
Vienna  Conservatoire,  and  author  of  various  works  on  teaching. 

I  A  concert-hall  in  Vienna,  belonging  to  the  piano-manufacturer 
Ludwig  Bosendorfer. 

§  Heinrich  Earth  (b.  1847),  pupil  of  Biilow,  Bronsart,  and  Tausig, 
a  professor  at  the  Hochschule,  Berlin. 

il  Ernst  Rudorff  (b.  1840),  composer,  conductor  of  the  Stern 
Choral  Society,  and  professor  at  the  Hochschule. 


A  PRODIGY  271 

Rudorff  s  warm  heart  was  so  strongly  affected,  that  he 
had  but  the  one  thought — to  take  the  child  away  from  its 
surroundings  and  its  teacher.  His  idea  was  to  interest 
people  here,  and  have  the  child  properly  looked  after 
until  it  was  ready  for  instruction  in  the  (musically)  good 
and  the  beautiful,  etc.,  etc.  When  he  came  to  us,  quite 
full  of  his  plans,  and  asked  us  to  hear  the  child  too, 
his  youthful  enthusiasm  quite  put  us  to  shame,  for  we 
immediately  raised  an  army  of  objections  to  damp  his 
ardour.  We  insisted  particularly  that,  always  sup- 
posing there  were  no  reliable  master  in  Vienna,  it  was 
a  great  risk  to  take  a  child  away  from  its  surroundings 
and  set  it  down  to  wait  until  it  should  be  ready  to 
profit  by  one's  teaching;  also  that  general  education 
was  of  more  importance  than  musical  instruction,  and 
other  wise  axioms.  The  next  day  the  little  fellow 
came  and  played — abominably,  but  with  every  evidence 
of  great  talent.  He  transposed  the  C  sharp  major 
fugue*  into  G,  or  any  key  required,  and,  further, 
played  some  incredibly  neat  modulations  when  I  w^as 
alone  with  him,  and  understood  at  once  what  I  meant 
by  an  interrupted  cadence  when  I  dictated  it  to  him 
by  mistake.  In  short,  it  is  very  evident  to  us  all  that 
it  is  the  real  thing. 

Heinrich  and  I  are  more  sceptical,  in  so  far  that  we 
believe  that  a  talent  for  music  does  not  necessarily 
presuppose  an  artistic  nature,  and  that  talents  as 
remarkable  have  been  known  to  lead  to  nothing.  We 
are  therefore  doubtful  whether  it  is  worth  the  risk 
of  transplanting  the  child  into  foreign  soil,  thereby 
raising  the  greatest  expectations  on  the  parents'  part, 
and  fanning  the  child's  ambition.  In  any  case  we 
think  it  most  desirable  that  the  child  should  be  placed 
*  From  the  Wohliemperirtes  Klavier. 


272  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

in  conscientious  hands.  So  far  it  can  hardly  be  said 
to  have  had  instruction,  but  a  breaking-in  at  most. 
The  poor  little  wretch  takes  three  fingers  to  any  note 
he  wants  to  emphasize  sharply,  and  even  uses  his  fist 
on  occasion.  His  wrists  are  stiff,  touch  and  position 
all  wrong,  and  his  phrasing  bears  evidence  of  the 
half-civilized  method  which  aims  at  effect  at  any  price. 
Consequently,  in  spite  of  the  little  performer's  childish 
personality,  it  is  like  listening  to  a  wizened  old  man, 
which  is  pitiful.  One  cannot,  being  human  and  a 
musician,  listen  to  him  without  a  lively  desire  to  see 
the  dear  gifted  child  given  a  healthier  existence.  Our 
advice  was,  first  of  all  to  send  the  child  back  to  school 
and  make  music  a  casual  secondary  study,  partly  for 
the  child's  health,  and  partly  to  limit  the  teacher's 
influence  as  far  as  possible  in  case  no  change  should 
be  practicable.  Later  on  let  the  boy  have  a  better 
master  at  all  costs,  the  best  possible  indeed ;  and  this 
is  where  you  come  in,  dear  Friend,  for  everyone  knows 
you  have  a  tender  spot  for  children. 

You  can  best  tell  us  who  would  be  the  safest  person 
to  take  him  in  charge ;  and  as  you  have  had  greater 
experience  than  any  of  us,  you  will  be  able  to  judge 
whether  it  is  dangerous  to  leave  him  with  Schmitt  for 
the  present,  if  the  bond  between  teacher  and  pupil 
were  loosened  by  curtailing  the  lessons,  etc.,  for  which 
a  pretext  could  easily  be  found.  You  will  also  be 
the  most  reliable  judge  of  the  child's  musical  calibre, 
and  be  able  to  advise  accordingly,  and  you  alone 
are  cognizant  of  the  facilities  Vienna  offers.  Does 
Epstein  do  as  much  now,  and  is  the  musical  atmo- 
sphere there  such  as  to  make  it  desirable  to  remove 
the  boy  from  Vienna  later  on  and  bring  him  here  ? 
The  mother  was  very  sensible  about  it,  so  much  so 


A  PRODIGY  273 

that  I  believe  she  would  be  just  as  easily  convinced  if 
anyone  were  seriously  to  advise  her  to  the  contrary. 
We — Heinz  and  I — think  the  child  looks  Jewish ;  a 
Pole  he  certainly  is.  I  wish  he  were  German,  for  the 
strain  is  so  much  purer,  after  all.  We  congratulated 
ourselves  on  that  fact  the  other  day  at  Rubinstein's 
Russian  winding-up  concert.  It  was  all  salon  music, 
more  or  less  peppered  with  Nihilists'  dynamite,  and 
nothing  behind  it. 

Don't  be  impatient  with  this  letter,  my  dear  Friend. 
Most  'great  men'  are,  let  me  inform  you,  so  selfish 
that  they  refuse  to  be  molested  or  worried  with  other 
people's  affairs.  One  loves  a  child  for  its  own  sake ; 
but  when  it  is  a  question  of  musical  talent  too,  it  has 
a  claim  on  our  consideration  even  at  the  cost  of  some 
inconvenience.  Serious  aims  and  high  ideals  are,  alas ! 
all  too  scarce  in  these  days ;  there  would  be  some 
satisfaction  in  setting  them  before  anyone  so  young 
and  malleable,  and  educating  him  to  that  end. 

And  how  is  our  symphony,  and  when  will  your 
wanderings  bring  you  to  Berlin  ?  And  do  you,  in 
the  midst  of  your  conquests,  sometimes  think  of  your 
ver^  faithful  old  friends? 

181.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December  5,  1885.] 

My  dear  Friend, — Your  little  protege  shall  be  very 
welcome,  though  I  confess  prodigies  only  interest  me 
in  so  far  as  I  find  their  performances  entertaining.  I 
have  too  often  seen  them  do  the  most  incredible  things 
— and  it  has  all  ended  in  smoke ! 

But  who  would  raise  a  finger  for  any  youth  in- 
capable  of  inspiring  the   conviction   in   himself  and 

18 


274  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

all  his  friends  that  he  is  capable  of  rising  to  any 
heights ! 

Is  it  possible  that  I  never  thanked  you  for  the 
symphony?*  If  so,  it  is  because  I  wanted  to  say 
more  than  just  'thank  you,'  and  I  have  not  your 
pretty  talent  in  that  direction.  But  I  can  assure 
you  that  no  one  could  bury  himself  in  it  with  more 
pleasure  or  be  better  able  to  appreciate  and  admire 
all  that  is  good  and  beautiful  in  it.  How  delightful 
and  nice  it  would  be  if  I  could  have  Heinz  here  all 
to  myself,  and  could  tell  him  all  I  think  while  it  is 
fresh  in  my  mind  ! 

But  as  the  piece  is,  above  all,  so  complicated,  I  find 
it  impossible  to  go  over  it  in  detail  just  now. 

I  do  think  it  a  great  pity  (this  will  make  you  very 
angry !)  that  Heinz  should  have  put  such  a  strain  on 
his  audiences  in  this  first  symphony.  The  string  trios 
and  quartets  had  made  me  hope  for  better  things  in 
that  respect.  Let  us  hope  it  will  soon  be  followed  by 
a  second,  less  calculated  to  inspire  such  predominating 
respect  in  an  audience. 

I  am  sorely  tempted  to  begin  at  the  first  bar  and 
chatter  to  my  heart's  content.  I  always  feel  that  I 
have  a  sort  of  claim  on  anything  that  interests  me  so 
keenly,  and  may  be  allowed  to  take  it  with  me  on  my 
walks  and  think  over  its  possibilities  of  development. 

I  have  found  Rubinstein  quite  endurable  since  the 
Schumann  recital  here.  Have  you  heard  of  his  latest 
achievement  ?  He  has  been  giving  his  fourteen  re- 
citals,t  two  at  a  time,  in  Moscow  and  St.  Petersburg 

*  Brahms  had  taken  '  our '  symphony  (see  end  of  previous  letter) 
to  mean  Herzogenberg's. 

+  The  famous  historical  recitals,  comprising  piano  music  of  all 
periods  in  chronological  order. 


JOACHIM  AS  CONDUCTOR  275 

alternately,   which   means    doing    the    sixteen   hours' 

journey  in  between  fourteen  times ! 

I  found  a  whole  stack  of  letters  here  when  I  arrived. 

I  am  simply  addressing  Joachim's  to  the  Hochschitle. — 

Yours  very  sincerely, 

J.  Brahms. 


182.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg, 

[Vienna,  January  i,  1886.] 

My  thoughts  are  much  with  you  and  the  dear  one 
you  have  lost.*  Our  meetings  have  been  brief  and 
rare  of  late  years,  but  each  parting  left  me  with  the 
wish  to  see  him  oftener  and  at  greater  leisure. 

With  very  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.  Brahms. 

183.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  February  3,  1886. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  wanted  to  write  yesterday 
to  tell  you  what  a  heavenly  evening  we  had  the  day 
before,t  but  was  prevented. 

The  philharmonic  orchestra  is  good,  as  you  know, 
but  their  playing  of  the  symphony  was  not  good,  but 
simply  perfection.  Joachim  had  done  wonders  at  the 
rehearsals.  It  was  a  pleasure  to  see  his  good-will 
and  enthusiasm ;  nothing  escaped  him,  no  detail  was 

*  Her  father,  who  died  suddenly  on  December  29.  This  brief 
expression  of  sympathy  was  written  on  a  post-card,  which  is  a  proof 
of  Brahms's  indifference  to  convention. 

t  Joachim  conducted  the  E  minor  symphony  on  February  i  at  the 
Philharmonic  concert,  and  deemed  it  wise  to  call  the  last  movement 
Variations^  the  theme  of  the  passacaglia  being  printed  on  the 
programmes. 

18—2 


276  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

beneath  his  attention.  He  would  take  up  his  fiddle 
and  show  them  exactly  what  was  wanted ;  and 
although  the  rehearsals  ran  to  a  cruel  length,  he 
knew  how  to  coax  his  men  to  renewed  effort  and 
curb  their  impatience.  We  felt  it  growing  clearer 
and  more  transparent ;  each  beautiful  passage  shone 
out  more  dazzlingly  as  we  listened.  I  wish  you  could 
have  been  there,  and  seen  our  faces,  and  enjoyed  it  all 
with  us.  My  mind,  which  has  been  fettered  for  so 
long,  shook  itself  free  at  last.  Music  has  appealed 
only  to  my  physical  side,  as  it  were,  all  this  time ; 
nothing  interested  me  sufficiently  to  distract  me  from 
my  grief  or  to  vibrate  to  it  and  bring  me  consolation. 
But  this  carried  me  out  of  myself,  and  I  realized  the 
inestimable  benefit  one  may  receive  from  great  im- 
pressions and  the  liberating  power  of  the  manifesta- 
tion of  beauty.  You  see  I  owe  you  very  special 
thanks  for  bringing  my  soul  this  relief. 

Yet  there  were  moments  in  between  when  I  sighed 
painfully  to  think  that  my  dear  father  was  past  hearing 
it  all.  He  was  so  peculiarly  receptive  to  your  music 
We  hardly  ever  met  without  his  asking  me  for  Feldein- 
samkeit^  Dber  die  Heide  hallet  mein  Schritt,^  and  various 
other  things.  You  would  have  had  some  pleasure 
yourself  in  seeing  him  turn  young  as  he  listened, 
the  dear  old  man !  But  your  wonderful  symphony 
was  to  be  my  theme,  not  this.  The  effect  was  over- 
powering^ beyond  all  we  had  imagined,  though  we  were 
prepared  for  something  very  beautiful.  I  was  moved 
to  tears — happy  tears — by  the  Andante.  The  way 
that  E  is  held  on  after  the  first  powerful  quasi-Phrygian 
summons,  and  the  soft  entry  of  the  G  sharp,  and  finally 
the  lovely  E  major  itself,  sounding  like  an  organ  in  the 

*  Songs  from  Op.  86. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  277 

distance* — I  know  of  no  other  orchestral  effect  to 
compare  with  it.  It  is  one  of  the  most  affecting  things 
1  know,  and,  indeed,  I  should  chose  this  movement  for 
my  companion  through  life  and  in  death.  It  is  all 
melody  from  first  to  last,  increasing  in  beauty  as  one 
presses  forward ;  it  is  a  walk  through  exquisite  scenery 
at  sunset,  when  the  colours  deepen  and  the  crimson 
glows  to  purple.  We  exchanged  glances  at  the  return 
of  the  second  subject  in  E  major,t  and  our  hearts 
thanked  you.  How  healthy  it  all  is,  too !  Its  pathos 
comes  from  a  pure  source,  and  is  inspiring  in  the  best 
sense — never  excessive  or  ecstatic,  as  is  the  present 
tendency.  One  can  listen  with  a  good  conscience, 
that  is,  and  submit  vohmtarily  to  the  magician's  spell. 
The  two  pulsations  on  BJ  for  the  drum  at  the  end  are 
deliciously  thrilling,  and,  indeed,  the  whole  passage 

based  on  pv^^ff — g—  is  so  exquisite  that  one  ends  by 


withdrawing  the   objection   to    =^ft^— *S—  §,  since   it 


comes  from  yon^  and  the  rest  of  you  is  so  nice !  The 
Scherzo  is  one  string  of  surprises.  Who  can  describe 
the  effect  of  it  all,  its  purely  orchestral  origin !     Such 

passages  as 

But  I  really  must  not  bore  you  with  my  everlasting 
examples.  It  all  comes  from  wanting  to  add  conviction 
to  my  assertions  that  nothing  is  lost  upon  us,  but  that 
we  take  it  all  in  with  delight.  We  shall  be  able  to  tell 
you  everything  better  at  Leipzig — where  I  hope  we 
are  to  meet  on  the  i8th? — the  beloved  score  in  hand. 

*  See  score,  p.  32,  bar  3.  t  P.  41,  bar  2.  \  P.  42,  bar  7. 

§  Referring  to  the  powerful  dissonance  referred  to  in  Letter  176 
(p.  43,  bar  I). 


22S  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Joachim  was  so  kind  as  to  leave  it  with  me  for  a  couple 
of  hours,  having  first  extracted  a  solemn  promise  from 
me ;  but  it  was  just  dinner-time,  and  I  had  only  time 
to  play  the  second  movement  through  to  Johannes 
Rontgen  and  Thomson*  before  taking  it  back,  which 
was  worse  than  nothing.  When  shall  we  have  a 
chance  of  seeing  it,  and  is  there  no  possibility  of 
reclaiming  the  two-piano  arrangement  which  the  lucky 
Frankfurters  have  had  for  so  long  ?  Barth  is  so  keen 
on  studying  it  with  me. 

Speaking  of  Barth  reminds  me  of  Bargiel,t  who  was 
quite  carried  away  by  your  symphony.  He  completely 
thawed,  or  perhaps  the  iron  band  about  his  heart  split 
in  two  like  Iron  Heinrich's.  He  almost  embraced 
Joachim  after  the  symphony — and,  indeed,  the  man 
deserved  embracing !  I  was  sorry  I  had  not  the 
courage  for  that  sort  of  thing,  for  he  was  so  splendid 
in  his  sacred  ardour,  so  happily  and  devoutly  absorbed 
in  your  music.  Both  he  and  his  orchestra  were  roused 
to  the  highest  pitch  of  excitement  in  the  last  movement, 
and  really  there  was  not  a  single  mishap,  not  a  moment 
when  the  effect  was  unfavourable ;  nothing  in  the 
whole  symphony  went  wrong — a  rare  achievement 
in  the  case  of  a  new  work !  The  trombones  played 
their  E  major  variation  superbly,  and  the  flute  its 
lovely  monologue  likewise.!  Above  all,  the  perform- 
ance brought  out  clearly  the  unity,  which  is  the  most 
admirable  thing  about  this  movement,  making  of  the 
whole  one  stately  progress,  a  finale  in  which  the  *  varia- 

*  Cdsar  Thomson  (b.  1B57),  violinist,  conductor,  and  professor  at 
the  Conservatoires  of  Liittich  and  Brussels, 

t  Woldemar  Bargiel  (1828-1897),  composer,  stepbrother  of  Frau 
Schumann's. 

%  See  score,  pp.  90  and  88. 


THE  FOURTH  SYMPHONY  279 

tions'  assume  their  due  proportions  as  hills  and  hollows 
in  the  vast  picture.  And  Herr  Gumprecht*  thinks 
it  instructive,  a  scholastic  experiment !  Why,  it  is 
just  the  opposite  ! 

Well,  are  you  really  coming  to  Leipzig  on  Febru- 
ary 1 8th  ?  May  we  look  forward  to  it  ?  Heinz  will  be 
able  to  get  one  or  two  days'  leave. 

Good-bye.  The  said  dear  Heinz  sends  kindest 
remembrances.  He  is  writing  such  nice  things  just 
now,  and  is  very  happy.  Kindest  remembrances  also 
from  Johanna.!  I  suppose  our  telegram  never  reached 
you.  I  only  heard  yesterday  from  Joachim  that  you 
were  at  Cologne.f  Please  send  me  a  line,  and  you 
might  take  a  whole  sheet  of  paper  this  time,  even  if 
you  can't  fill  it.  I  only  want  to  know  if  you  are  really 
coming  to  Leipzig  on  the  i8th,  and  if  you  still  like  us  a 
little.  I  sometimes  fear  you  may  lose  the  art,  now 
that  we  so  seldom  meet  and  you  have  so  many  friends. 
But  we  must  keep  your  friendship  ;  we  need  it  so,  and 
you  well  know  our  feelings  towards  you  now  and 
always. 

Remember  us  to  Wiillner.  Can't  you  cure  him  of 
Bruckner,  who  has  become  as  much  of  an  epidemic 
as  diphtheria. 

Fritzsch's  paper§  has  really  become  impossible.  If 
I  were  you,  I  should  refuse  to  be  praised  by  him  any 
more. 

And   now   really   good-bye.     Johanna  says  :   *  Say 

*  Otto  Gumprecht  (1823-1900),  music  critic  of  the  Nationalzeitung, 
known  as  the  '  Berlin  Hanshck.' 

t  Frau  Rontgen. 

X  Brahms  conducted  his  E  minor  symphony,  the  Song  of  Destiny, 
and  played  his  D  minor  concerto,  at  a  Giirzenich  concert  on 
February  9. 

§  The  Musikalisches  Wochenblatt. 


28o  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

something  nice  to  him  from  me.'    She  is  really  one 
of  the  faithful. 
Just  a  little  line,  then,  to  your  faithfullest 

E.  Herzogenberg. 

184.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Cologne,  February  7,  1886.] 

My  dear  Friend, — The  general  confusion  here  makes 
it  impossible  for  me  to  do  anything  but  send  my  best 
thanks  for  your  kind  letter  and  your  most  kind  inten- 
tion of  coming  to  Leipzig.  I  have  still  to  get  in  a 
quartet  this  morning.  Then  comes  a  big  dinner-party, 
afterwards  a  grand  celebration  at  the  conservatoire 
with  quantities  of  music,  and  another  in  the  evening 
at  the  Mdnnergesangverein  ! 

Can  you  expect  more  than  a  cheery  auf  Wiedersehen  ? 
— Very  sincerely  yours,  j   gj^ 

185.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  February  24,  1886.] 

My  dear  Friend, — Do  tell  me  whether  you  have 
anything  in  Beethoven's  handwriting.*  If  not,  I  will 
enclose  a  slip  (by  way  of  interest)  when  I  return  your 
Schuberts.  I  wanted  particularly  to  tell  you,  too,  that 
Frau  Grafin  Wickenburgf  is  selling  her  Schuberts! 
So  far  as  I  know,  she  has  only  some  overtures  as  duets 
and  a  few  transposed  Mullerlieder  besides  the  trio  in 
E  flat. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.Br. 

*  Brahms's  collection  of  autographs  included  nearly  thirty  loose 
pages  and  the  sketch-book  to  the  sonata,  Op.  106,  in  Beethoven's 
own  hand. 

t  Grafin  Wilhelmine  von  Wickenburg-Almasy  (b.  1845),  poetess. 


AT  LEIPZIG  281 

I S6.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  February  26,  1886, 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  really  needed  your  kind 
post-card,  for  I  came  back  from  Leipzig*  in  a  fit  of  the 
dumps  in  spite  of  all  the  E  minor  glamour.  The  scant}'' 
rations  on  which  I  had  to  exist  quite  failed  to  satisfy 
me  after  the  good  old  times,  and  I  felt  as  if  I  had  been 
deposed  from  a  very  pleasant  post.  O  Humboldt- 
strasse !  O  Zeitzerstrasse,  even  !  How  shady  were 
thy  branches  !t  It  was  too  depressing  to  be  jostled 
about  as  a  visitor  in  the  grimy  town  with  never  a 
claim  on  the  dear  person  at  HaufTe's  Hotel — no  pos- 
sibility of  looking  after  him  at  home,  or  making  his 
coffee,  or  having  him  all  to  one's  self  for  a  cosy  chat. 
I  felt  too  lost  even  to  enjoy  that  precious  dinner-hour 
at  the  Wachs'  with  you  as  I  should  have  liked.  Worst 
of  all,  I  never  seemed  able  to  get  near  you  with  my 
enthusiasm  for  the  E  minor,  when  on  other  occa- 
sions I  have  always  succeeded,  after  much  perse- 
verance, in  penetrating  your  defences,  and  bringing 
home  to  you  little  by  little  all  I  felt.  I  admit  that  in 
this  case  you  knew  it  all — for  have  I  not  written  it 
more  than  once  ? — but  it  is  a  satisfaction  to  say  it,  and 
to  thank  you  by  word  of  mouth  and  a  grip  of  the  hand 
as  you  deserve.  But  with  you  one  must  watch  one's 
opportunity,  and  then  attack  boldly ;  there  is  no  taking 
you  on  the  wing,  least  of  all  for  a  bungler  like  me. 
You  know  I  am  very  much  in  earnest  about  it,  and  I 

*  Brahms  conducted  his  E  minor  symphony  at  the  Gewandhaus 
on  February  18.  Brodsky  played  the  violin  concerto  at  the  same 
concert. 

t  '  O  Tannenbaum,  O  Tannenbaum,  wie  griin  sind  deine  Blatter ' 
(popular  song). — Tr. 


282  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

wish  I  could  have  thanked  you  worthily  for  enriching 
our  lives  as  you  have  done  by  producing  this  latest 
work.  However,  I  will  set  it  down  here  instead,  and 
like  to  imagine  you  will  read  it  with  one  of  your 
kindest  smiles  and  be  happy  to  think  of  our  happiness. 

You  took  all  that  about  Schubert  too  seriously.  Do 
consider  how  it  flattered  the  little  school-girl  I  was 
then  to  possess  anything  you  should  think  it  worth 
while  to  steal !  Had  I  been  able  to  give  you  it  (as 
I  did  actually  give  you  Anselmo)*  it  would  have  been 
better  still.  But  I  do  beg  you  will  not  send  it  back 
now,  for  I  should  really  be  hurt.  Won't  you  send  me 
a  nice  Brahms  manuscript  instead  ?  You  see  I  am 
ready  as  ever  to  take  all  I  can  get — and  why  not  ? 
You  have  already  given  me  so  much  that  I  have 
exhausted  my  blushes.  I  am  a  veritable  marmot :  the 
more  you  heap  upon  me  the  happier  I  am.  But  there 
shall  be  no  reason  to  complain  of  my  ingratitude. 
How  should  a  waif  like  myself  possess  a  Beethoven 
manuscript !  But  ought  I  really  to  accept  it,  and  do 
you  know  of  nothing  that  I  could  give  you  beside 
my  boundless  admiration,  which  leaves  you  so  in- 
different ? 

I  am  not  surprised  to  hear  that  the  Wickenburgs 
are  selling  their  Schuberts,  for  this  generation  knows 
no  piety,  no  scruples.  Have  not  the  Orsinis  sold 
Benvenuto  Cellini's  own  doorkey,  and  are  there  any 
treasures  still  in  the  hands  of  their  original  owners  ? 
But  the  Wickenburgs  have,  after  all,  no  particular 
musical  traditions,  and  I  shouldn't  mind  if  only  they 
had  given  them  away.  Perhaps  their  circumstances 
did  not  admit  of  that ;  people  with  children  never  can 
do  anything  nice  and  unpractical.  That  is  the  one 
*  The  manuscript  of  Schubert's  song  Am  Grabe  Ansclmos. 


BRUCKNER- WORSHIP  283 

thing  that  makes  us  almost  glad  we  have  none  some- 
times, for  we  can  at  least  be  unpractical  to  our  hearts' 
desire — and  are  ! 

Yesterday  at  Joachim's  I  begged  for  my  favourite 
little  bit  out  of  the  concerto  : 


^^. 


which  B.  does  not  come  anywhere  near  playing !  He 
played  it  fairly  well  as  long  as  you  were  there  and 
could  tell  him,  but  he  is  not  a  refined  player,  for  all 
poor  Fritzsch  declares  him  to  be  *  absolutely  the  most 
congenial  interpreter '  of  your  concerto.  It  always 
makes  me  furious  to  hear  facts  so  grossly  misrepre- 
sented, just  as  it  does  to  watch  the  growing  Bruckner 
craze,  and  I  admire  you  for  keeping  a  cool  head.  It 
is  a  wonder  you  do  not  descend  on  these  people  like 
a  St.  George,  and  storm  at  them.  We  played  Joachim 
a  page  or  two  of  Bruckner's  E  major — by  request — but 
soon  had  to  stop  out  of  compassion.  To  show  you 
how  firmly  the  disease  has  taken  hold,  a  young  musician 
from  Vienna  who  is  studying  with  Spitta  was  com- 
plaining bitterly  to  him  the  other  day  of  the  injustice 
of  the  world's  judgment  in  making  Brahms  a  little 
god  while  he  was  still  young,  while  Bruckner's  great 
genius  received  no  recognition  even  in  his  old  age ! 
And  he  is  in  other  respects  very  nice  and  a  keen 
worker. 

I  am  telling  you  this  in  the  hope  of  arousing  a  little 
holy  indignation. 

Farewell,  dear,  dear  Friend.  When  summer  comes — 
summer  ! — please  remember  that  we  have  a  little  house, 

*  See  score  of  violin  concerto,  p.  60,  bar  3. 


284  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

and  that  we  should  like  to  be  allowed  to  make  a  little 
fuss  of  you,  if  only  you  would  let  us. 

Heinrich's  love.  He  sat  behind  me  at  the  Gewand- 
haus  concert,  and  I  turned  round  so  much  at  all  the 
very  particular  passages  that  people  must  have  thought 
us  crazy.  We  happened  to  be  sitting  in  the  most 
'  correct '  corner,  where  it  is  bad  form  to  show  any 
interest.  At  the  opening  of  the  new  Gewandhaus  last 
year,  a  Leipzig  girl,  one  of  your  great  admirers,  over- 
heard another  girl  say,  'You  really  enjoy  music  twice 
as  much  decolletee  V 

With  this  choice  piece  of  folly  I  will  close,  for  I  could 
hardly  improve  on  it. 

Think  kindly  now  and  always  of  your  old 

Herzogenbergs. 


187.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg, 

[Vienna,  February  28,  1886.] 

Your  anecdote  is  charming,  and  I  shall,  as  usual,  go 
on  telling  it  until  it  becomes  quite  stale.  You  will 
have  to  accept  the  manuscripts*  as  my  gift  now,  for 
they  certainly  are  mine  to  give.  Anselmo  figures  in 
my  catalogue  as  your  present,  January  'yy  !  But  you 
know  I  have  a  fair  assortment.  Don't  fall  a  victim  to 
the  collecting  mania,  but  take  an  innocent  delight  in 
odd  specimens,  as  I  do. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.Br. 

I  go  to  Frankfurt,  and  the  manuscripts  to  Berlin, 
this  very  day. 

*  The  Schubert  and  Beethoven  manuscripts  {cf.  Letter  186). 


A  BEETHOVEN  MANUSCRIPT  285 

188.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  March  12,  1886. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — All  this  time  I  have  never 
thanked  you  for  the  Beethoven,  and  yet  it  was  as  if  I 
had  come  into  some  property.  You  must  certainly 
like  me  a  little  to  part  with  such  a  treasure,  and  that 
is  what  delights  me  most. 

Heini  thinks  it  must  be  a  copy  of  some  old  piece — 
but  which  ? 

It  is  all  the  same  to  me  what  it  is,  for  it  is  un- 
doubtedly genuine,  and  therefore  sacred.  I  am  so 
glad  it  came  to  me  through  you ;  it  is  a  double 
pleasure  to  receive  very  special  things  from  very 
special  people. 

But  I  can  neither  appreciate  nor  enjoy  the  Schubert 
manuscripts.*  How  shall  I  look  this  restored  gift- 
horse  in  the  mouth !  I  said  I  did  not  want  the 
Ldndler  back,  and  particularly  the  Anselmo,  which  I 
presented  to  you  deliberately  and  with  great  pride 
that  time.  You  evidently  lack  that  sixth  sense  of 
consideration  for  lesser  mortals  and  their  pardonable 
sensitiveness !  I  shall  simply  pester  you — I  put  it 
fairly  plainly  the  other  day — into  giving  me  one  of 
your  own  manuscripts  in  exchange.  You  might  really 
give  me  this  gratification,  for  I  am  so  happy  and  proud 
to  possess  any  sheet,  any  tiniest  scrap,  of  your  writing. 
I  will  keep  these,  but  merely  as  securities,  until  you  do. 

You  will  soon  be  going  to  Dresden. t  How  bliss- 
fully happy  my  dear  old  brother  will  be  to  hear  the 

*  Besides  the  song  Am  Grabe  Anselmos,  Frau  von  Herzogenberg 
had  presented  to  Brahms  a  set  of  Schubert's  L'dndlcrs. 

f  Brahms  conducted  his  E  minor  symphony  in  Dresden  on 
March  10. 


286  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

symphony  and  to  see  you  !  If  we  only  could,  we 
would  run  over,  too,  and  sun  ourselves  a  little  in  your 
presence ! 

Where  shall  you  be  at  Whitsuntide  ? 

They  are  doing  your  symphony  at  the  Singakademie 
to-day,  but  I  have  to  stay  miserably  at  home  because 
of  my  cough,  after  counting  on  it  for  months.  Heinz 
came  back  from  the  rehearsal  in  bad  spirits,  by  the 
way.  .  .  . 

Good-bye,  dear,  perfect  Friend.  It  is  good  to  feel 
you  are  there  !-Your  devoted  Herzogenbergs. 

189.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  October,  1886.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  think  you  and  Joachim  will 
derive  considerable  pleasure  and  interest  from  the 
enclosed. 

It  is  an  exact  compilation  of  the  printed  score  and 
the  original  concept  of  Schumann's  D  minor  symphony, 
modestly  and,  I  think,  unjustly  described  by  the  com- 
poser in  his  introduction  as  a  rough  sketch.  You  are, 
of  course,  familiar  with  the  state  of  affairs,  which  is 
quite  simple. 

Schumann  was  so  upset  by  a  first  rehearsal,  which 
went  off  badly,  that  he  subsequently  instrumentated 
the  symphony  afresh  at  Dusseldorf,  where  he  was 
used  to  a, bad  and  incomplete  orchestra. 

The  original  scoring  has  always  delighted  me.  It 
is  a  real  pleasure  to  see  anything  so  bright  and 
spontaneous  expressed  with  corresponding  ease  and 
grace.  It  reminds  me  (without  comparing  it  in  other 
respects)  of  Mozart's  G  minor,  the  score  of  which  I 
also   possess.      Everything   is   so  absolutely   natural 


A  SCHUMANN  SYMPHONY  287 

that  you  cannot  imagine  it  different;  there  are  no 
harsh  colours,  no  forced  effects,  and  so  on.  On  the 
other  hand,  you  will  no  doubt  agree  that  one's  enjoy- 
ment of  the  revised  form  is  not  unmixed  ;  eye  and  ear 
seem  to  contradict  each  other. 

I  cannot  resist  pointing  out  pp.  20  (horns),  25,  30 ; 
128-9  (violins  and  double  basses);  141-2  (ist  and 
2nd  violins) ;  148-9,  163-4,  although  it  is  quite  super- 
fluous, for  you  will  enjoy  every  page. 

Had  the  Meiningen  quartet  been  more  reliable,  I 
should  have  tried  it  there  long  ago.  How  is  Joachim 
off  for  strings  ? 

Now  comes  the  question  whether  you  agree  with 
me  that  the  original  score  should  be  published  ?  Will 
you,  in  that  case,  see  to  it  ?  But  please  return  this 
copy  as  soon  as  possible,  as  it  is  not  mine. 

I  can  only  thank  you  very  briefly  for  the  parcel  you 
so  kindly  sent — I  should  have  to  cut  a  new  quill  to  do 
it  adequately — but  I  am  expecting  Hausmann  any 
minute,  and  am  looking  forward  particularly  to  many 
parts  of  the  Finale,*  although  I  may  want  to  omit  the 
first  two  pages  ! 

Kindest  regards  to  you  both,  and  let  me  hear  from 
you  now  and  then. — Yours,  j   gj^ 

190.  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Berlix,  Kurfurstenstrasse  87, 
October  26,  1886. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — We  were  delighted  to  have 
your  parcel  and  letter.  I  have  learnt  so  much  from 
the  two  versions,!  both  on  general  lines  and  in  detail, 

*  Probably  the  Finale  of  Herzogenberg's  'cello  sonata,  Op.  52, 
which  is  dedicated  to  Hausmann. 
t  The  Schumann  symphony  (c/.  Letter  189). 


288  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

and  am  so  glad  I  have  you  to  thank.  Joachim  would 
very  much  like  to  hear  the  earlier  one.  May  we  have 
the  parts  copied,  and  how  long  can  you  spare  the 
score  ? 

But  perhaps  the  owner  of  the  score  has  also  pro- 
vided copies  of  the  parts,  or  would  do  so  ? 

Hausmann,  dear  fellow,  came  back  from  Vienna  in 
a  just-after-confirmation  frame  of  mind.  You  must 
have  shown  him  some  beautiful  things.  He  raves 
most  about  the  whole  of  the  'cello  sonata*  and  an 
Intermezzo  in  the  violin  sonata.t  He  is  coming  here 
this  evening,  and  will  have  much  more  to  tell  us. 

I  can't  make  out  from  your  letter  what  it  is  you 
don't  like  about  the  introduction  to  the  variations  in 
my  sonata,  and  I  should  so  like  to  know.  Meanwhile 
you  have  my  formal  permission  to  consider  it  non- 
existent. To  you,  anything  one  of  us  writes  can  only 
be  well-meant  feebleness,  so  why  trouble  about  a  few 
bars  more  or  less  if  only  you  are  inclined  to  be  nice 
about  the  remainder ! 

Please  send  a  line  to  say  whether  we  are  to  copy 
the  score  or  send  it  straight  back. 

You  might  really  pass  through  Berlin,  or  come  to 
stay,  in  the  flesh,  this  winter.  You  could  then  hear 
the  D  minorj  played  by  our  good  little  school 
orchestra  or  the  Philharmonic,  and  we  could  have  a 
few  days  together. 

All  kindest  messages  from  myself  and  my  wife. — 
Yours  ever,  Herzogenberg. 

*  Brahms's  sonata  for  violoncello  in  F,  Op.  99. 

t  Sonata  for  violin  and  piano  in  A,  Op.  100,  composed  at  Thun  in 
the  summer  of  1886,  as  also  the  'cello  sonata.  By  Intermezzo  the 
Andante  is  probably  meant. 

I  The  Schumann  symphony. 


A  RECONCILIATION  289 

191.  Brahms  to  Heinrich  von  Herzogenberg, 

[Vienna,  October  28,  1886.] 

Very  well,  have  the  parts  copied !     I  will  see  Herr 

Mandyczewski,*   whose   diligence   is   responsible  for 

the  compilation,  about  it.     It  would  be  very  nice  to 

hear  it  properly  played. — Sincerely  yours, 

J.  Br. 

192.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  December  2,  i886.t 

....  And  now  to  change  the  subject,  dear  Makart,{ 
let  me  thank  you  for  the  dear,  beautiful  sonata,  which 
I  am  most  anxious  to  study  thoroughly.  It  is  far 
from  satisfactory  to  shuffle  through  it  twice  with 
Hausmann,  for  while  it  is  still  so  new  the  excitement 
of  listening  is  so  great  that  one  fails  to  take  it  in.  It 
is  impossible  to  settle  down  to  serious  enjoyment  of 
a  novelty  of  this  order,  because  of  the  ferment,  the 
tumult  of  emotion,  glorious  in  themselves,  which  in- 
evitably possess  one.  So  far  I  have  beenjnost  thrilled 
by  the  first  movement.     It  is  so  masterly  in  its  com- 

*  Professor  Dr.  Eusebius  Mandyczewski  (b.  1857),  composer, 
writer,  editor  of  Schubert's  works,  librarian  of  the  Vienna  GeselU 
schaft  der  Musikfreunde^  was,  during  the  last  ten  years  of  Brahms's 
life,  his  untiring  amanuensis  and  most  faithful  musical  adviser. 

t  Frau  von  Herzogenberg's  correspondence  with  Brahms  had 
ceased  abruptly  in  March,  1886,  on  account  of  a  report  spread  by 
some  busybody,  which  afterwards  proved  to  be  quite  unfounded. 
Brahms  either  ignored  the  fact  or  pretended  to  do  so.  He  sent  her 
the  'cello  sonata,  however,  unaccompanied  by  any  sort  of  message. 

\  The  painter  Hans  Makart,  who  was  famous  for  his  taciturnity, 
was  once  at  a  dinner-party,  when  his  neighbour,  Josephine  Gallmeyer, 
after  one  of  his  long  silences,  turned  on  him  with,  *  And  now  let  us 
change  the  subject,  dear  Herr  Makart.' 

19 


290  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

pression,  so  torrent-like  in  its  progress,  so  terse  in  the 
development,  while  the  extension  of  the  first  subject 
on  its  return  comes  as  the  greatest  surprise.  I  don't 
need  to  tell  you  how  we  enjoyed  the  soft,  melodious 
Adagio,  particularly  the  exquisite  return  to  F  sharp 
major,  which  sounds  so  beautiful.  I  should  like  to 
hear  you  play  the  essentially  vigorous  Scherzo — 
indeed  I  always  hear  you  snorting  and  puffing  away 
at  it* — for  no  one  else  will  ever  play  it  just  to  my 
mind.  It  must  be  agitated  without  being  hurried, 
legato  in  spite  of  its  unrest  and  impetus.  I  wish  I 
were  able  to  practise  it,  and  really  master  the  last 
movement  too,  with  its  quasi-lyrical  theme,  which 
seems  to  me  almost  too  violent  a  contrast  to  the 
*  grand '  style  of  the  others.  But,  as  I  said,  I  want  to 
hear  it  again  and  learn  how  to  play  it. 

I  have  not  seen  Hausmann  since  his  return,  unfor- 
tunately, but  I  shall  no  doubt  hear  when  he  expects 
to  receive  the  sonata.  And  what  about  the  violin 
sonata  ?  Why  doesn't  it  come  ?  Have  you  really  so 
many  acquaintances  left  in  Vienna  who  have  not  heard 
it,  that  you  cannot  spare  it  for  a  few  days  ?  And  don't 
you  rather  want  Joachim  to  have  it  soon  ?  And  do 
you  never  think  how  he  must  secretly  long  for  it  ? 
I  say  nothing  of  my  own  craving,  which  is  second 
to  nobody's,  but  how  can  you  keep  him,  Joachim, 
waiting  so  long  when  surely  he  has  first  claim  to 
it  ?  It  is  really  rather  cruel,  and  I  think  you  ought 
to  find  a  large  envelope  with  all  speed  and  send  it 
him. 

I  will  now  confess,  with  your  permission,  that  I 

*  Brahms  often  accompanied  his  playing  by  uncouth  noises,  which 
were  sometimes  so  loud  as  to  be  audible  to  a  concert  audience. 


SONGS  291 

made  copies  of  both  the  Spies  contralto  songs,*  and 
am  much  attached  to  them,  although,  with  my  usual 
effrontery,  I  am  anxious  to  voice  two  objections.  Do 
you  really  like  all  those  chords  of  the  six-four  in 
succession  in  the  C  sharp  minor  song,t  particularly 
in  the  second  verse — G  major,  B  flat  and  D  flat,  one 
after  the  other,  and  all  second  inversions  ?  You 
surely  never  wrote  anything  of  the  kind  before  ?  I 
know  of  no  other  passages  to  equal  it  for  harshness  in 
the  whole  of  your  music,  and  flatter  myself  you  will 
find  some  other  means  of  expressing  the  passionate 
yearning  of  the  poem  at  that  point.  It  is  quite  clear 
what  impression  you  wish  to  give,  but  the  actual 
result  is  so  much  less  beautiful  than  Brahms  usually 
is  that  it  positively  gave  me  pain.  It  is  such  a  pity 
to  spoil  a  soft,  dreamy  song  wdth  these  sudden  shocks. 
I  love  the  warm  flow  of  melody  in  the  A  major,  with 
its  abstract  text,  J  and  sing  it  with  the  greatest  pleasure. 
But  in  this,  too,  the  final  cadence  will  not  seem  right. 
I  have  played  it  over  and  over  until  I  got  used  to  it 
Sind  felt  it  as  A  major,  but  at  first  I  never  could  work 
myself  up  to  it.  The  A  always  seemed  more  like  the 
dominant  of  D.  Have  you  any  more  songs  in  your 
drawer,  I  wonder  ?  Should  you  not  like  to  wrap  up 
one  of  them  in  some  of  the  Strauss  waltzes  which  you 

*  Brahms  had  not  given  H ermine  Spies  permission  to  sing  in 
public  the  two  songs,  composed  at  Thun  in  the  summer  of  1886,  of 
which  he  had  sent  her  copies  —  Wie  Mclodicn  zieht  es  and  Immer 
leiser  wird  mein  Schlummer  (Op.  105,  Nos.  i  and  2) — but  Frau  von 
Herzogenberg  had  been  allowed  to  see  them  (c/.  H  ermine  Spies, 
Ein  Gedenkbuch,  p.  303). 

t  Immer  leiser  wird  mein  Schlummer. 

%  The  words  of  the  song  Wie  Melodien  zieht  es  are  by  Klaus 
Groth.  Brahms  often  succeeded  in  setting  an  abstract  poem  to  a 
charming  melody.  Another  example  is  Riickert's  Mil  vierzig  Jahren, 
Op.  94,  No.  I. 

19 — 2 


292  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

always  have  at  hand  for  the  purpose,  as  in  the  good 
old  times  ?  Come,  do  spoil  me  again  a  little ;  you 
know  how  happy  it  makes  me. 

Good-bye,  dear,  dear  Friend.  I  should  like  to  send 
you  something  —  a  few  of  Heini's  latest  a  capella 
choruses,  which  seem  to  me  particularly  good.  But 
should  you  really  care  to  see  them  ? 

Please  spare  me  a  kind  word  and  a  quiet  thought, 
such  as  I  have  so  often  coveted  during  this  long,  long 
silence. 

As  of  old,  your  devoted 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

How  did  Spies  sing  in  Vienna  ?  I  can't  help  feeling 
strongly  that  she  is  not  developing  at  all.  When  I 
think  of  Frau  Joachim*  and  the  way  her  voice  grew 
steadily  fuller,  it  seems  to  me  that  concert  work  and 
tearing  about  is,  on  the  contrary,  making  this  one  more 
casual.  She  sings  so  many  things  as  if  she  were 
reading  at  sight,  and  I  do  so  wish  someone  like  you 
would  warn  her,  nice  and — at  bottom — serious  girl 
that  she  is.  I  have  never  seen  enough  of  her  to 
venture ;  for  she  gets  terribly  spoilt,  and  understands 
no  hints.     It  would  have  to  be  put  very  plainly.f 

*  Amalie  Joachim  {nSc  Schneeweiss,  1839-1899),  whose  professional 
name  before  she  married  was  Amalie  Weiss,  was  a  contralto  engaged 
at  the  Hanover  Hofoper  from  1862.  She  subsequently  became  famous 
as  a  Liedersdngcrin,  and  was  unrivalled  in  her  interpretation  of 
Schumann's  songs.  In  1863  she  married  Joachim.  They  went  to 
live  in  Berlin  in  1866,  but  separated  in  1882. — Tr. 

j-  Brahms  had  forestalled  this  request,  in  a  letter  to  H ermine  Spies 
on  November  4,  by  writing,  half  in  jest,  '  I  actually  dreamt  that  I 
heard  you  skip  half  a  bar's  rest,  and  sing  a  crotchet  instead  of  a 
quaver,'  to  which  the  singer  repUed,  *  It  is  very  kind  of  you  only  to 
dream  that  I  am  unmusical.  I  have  not  only  dreamt  it,  but  known 
it  for  ages.' 


HERMINE  SPIES  293 

193.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Buda-Pesth,  December  22,  1886.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  have  been  a  long  time 
v^riting  to  tell  you  how  pleased  I  was  to  have  your 
kind  letter,  and  how  unwillingly  I  have  dispensed 
with  your  correspondence  all  this  time.  But  as  I  am 
so  sadly  behindhand  again,  and  as  you  express  some 
desire  to  see  some  of  my  things  again,  let  us  come 
to  an  agreement :  I  will  send  you  something  from  time 
to  time  without  writing,  and  you  shall  write  me  nice 
things  in  return — particularly  any  nice  scruples  you 
may  have ! 

I  hope  to  send  something  very  shortly,  and  hope 
it  will  reach  you  when  you  have  some  free  time,  so 
that  you  can  return  it  quickly,  accompanied  by  the 
said  scruples.  I  need  not  really  have  as  many  qualms 
as  usual,  for  your  kind,  long  letter  was,  I  regret  to 
say,  three-parts  taken  up  with  that  good-for-nothing 
fellow.* 

I  am  sorry  I  have  not  your  letter  by  me,  otherwise 
I  could  answer  it  better ;  that  is  to  say,  agree  with 
some  of  your  remarks! — as  to  Fraulein  Spies,  for 
instance,  and  Frau  Joachim's  undeniable  position  in 
the  very  front  rank.     The  other  will  never  be  able 

*  The  person  responsible  for  the  breach  in  their  correspondence. 

t  It  is  doubtful  whether  Brahms  agreed  with  her  objections  to  the 
chords  of  the  six-four  in  Immer  Iciser.  He  evidently  wrote  them 
deUberately,  because  they  seemed  to  him  a  fitting  expression  for  the 
feverish  exaltation  of  the  song.  Hanslick  had  suggested  the  poem 
(by  Hermann  Lingg),  but  at  first  neither  contents  nor  form  appealed 
to  Brahms.  The  breaks  in  the  song  after  *  singt  im  Wald '  and  *  Willst 
du  7nich'  which  are  really  inadmissible,  may  be  explained  as  express- 
ing the  failing  of  the  invalid's  voice,  which  is  making  its  last  desperate 
efforts  to  be  heard  before  sinking  into  a  last  sleep.     Sung  by  an  ideal 


294  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

to  catch  her  up,  for  various  reasons,  but  she  has  just 
those  quahties  which  tell  in  a  concert-hall  rather  than 
in  a  room.  We  get  very  little  good  singing  in  Vienna, 
and  her  success  there  is  very  natural  and  desirable. 
I  am  most  looking  forv^ard  to  the  new  symphony 
among  Herr  Heini's  new  things.  I  still  consider  the 
two  string  trios  and  the  three  quartets*  his  high-water 
mark  more  or  less,  and  I  want  to  see  him  reach  gaily 
beyond  it. 

If  I  do  send,  I  shall  only  enclose  the  violin  part  with 
the  greatest  reluctance.!  Reading  together  at  sight 
from  the  manuscript  is  usually  very  unsatisfactory. 
As  far  as  enjoying  it  goes,  it  is  much  better  to  play  it 
through  comfortably  alone. 

I  must  go  to  rehearsal,!  and  will  only  add  best 
wishes  for  Christmas.     Have  I  your  address  ? 

Well,  '  until  presently,'  as  they  say  on  the  Rhine. — 
With  kindest  regards,  yours  very  sincerely, 

J.Br. 

interpreter,  the  song  should  produce  the  impression  that  it  is  costing 
the  singer  her  life  :  for  in  response  to  the  dying  girl's  call  comes,  not 
her  lover,  but  Death.  Billroth,  to  whom  Brahms  sent  the  song  on 
August  1 8  from  Thun  as  'the  work  of  one  of  your  old  colleagues' 
(Hermann  Lingg  being  a  retired  Bavarian  army  doctor),  replied  : 
*  H.  Lingg's  poem  about  the  dying  girl  in  your  illuminating  setting 
affected  me  most  of  all.  I  imagined  it  sung  quite  simply  in  a  touching 
girhsh  voice,  and  I  am  not  ashamed  to  say  that  I  could  not  finish 
playing  it  for  weeping.'  The  ultimate  success  of  this  particular  song 
justified  Billroth's  choice,  and  the  chain  of  chords  of  the  six-four  will 
go  down  to  posterity  unchallenged. 

*  Herzogenberg's  Op.  27  and  42. 

t  The  A  major  violin  sonata. 

I  Of  his  fourth  symphony,  which  he  was  conducting  at  Buda-Pesth 
on  the  22nd. 


HERMINE  SPIES  295 

194.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Berlin,  Kurfurstenstrasse  87, 
December  28,  1886.] 

My  dear  Friend, — Was  it  of  your  own  devising 
or  by  a  lucky  chance  that  your  letter  arrived  on 
Christmas  Eve,  the  first  and  most  precious  of  Christmas 
presents  ?  It  meant  much  to  me  to  read  my  name  in 
your  dear  writing  again  at  last,  and  if  you  would  take 
that  to  heart  you  might  be  less  chary  of  setting  pen  to 
paper.  It  is  a  pity,  for  you  used  not  to  be  so  lazy; 
indeed,  you  honoured  me  with  many  a  nice  long  letter. 
However,  I  am  well  satisfied  with  the  contents  of  this 
one,  and  can  hardly  fail  to  agree  with  your  proposal  to 
send  me  music  now  and  then  *  without  writing,'  while 
I  find  *  nice  things '  to  say  in  reply.  Please  do  not 
forget  this  delightful  compact,  but  act  upon  it  soon ! 

I  thought  we  should  probably  agree  about  Fraulein 
Spies.  Yet  it  seems  to  me  something  might  be  done 
by  an  impressive  word  in  season ;  but  it  must  come 
from  a  musician,  and  you  are  the  only  one  to  do  it. 
Her  talent  is  such  as  to  make  it  worth  while  to  warn 
her  against  resting  on  her  oars  too  much.  There  may 
always  come  a  turn  in  public  opinion,  and  I  do  think 
she  might  become  more  serious.  She  sang  your  two 
songs  here  as  if  she  were  reading  them,  and  I  only 
consider  her  light  head-notes  really  beautiful,  quite 
bewitching  indeed.  The  lower  notes  are  inclined  to 
be  thick,  and  the  high  ones  hollow  and  harsh.  If 
only  I  dare  tell  her — but  I  cannot  venture,  whereas 
you  could  and  ought. 

To-morrow  evening  we  shall  hear  Joachim  do  your 
B  flat  sextet,*  and  I  have  it  with  me  at  the  piano  now, 

*  Op.  18, 


296  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

so  as  to  have  it  all  fresh  in  my  mind.  You  see  we 
have  a  good  deal  of  you  here,  and  you  are  in  good 
hands.  The  other  day,  at  the  end  of  a  long  concert 
which  we  only  sat  out  with  difficulty,  they  sang  the 
Liebeslieder ;*  and  when  Hausmann's  head  appeared 
suddenly  in  the  background,  we  recognized  him,  and 
he  us,  by  sheer  force  of  the  animation  the  beloved 
things  had  aroused. 

Last  year  I  even  made  an  acquaintance  on  the 
strength  of  your  music.  It  was  when  they  did  the 
E  minor,  and  Frau  Hartmannf  and  her  son  were 
listening  with  such  unusual  keenness,  that  I  introduced 
myself,  thinking  I  really  must  know  her ;  but  I  really 
loved  her  before  I  spoke  for  her  thoughtful  face  and 
her  intent  way  of  listening.  I  realized  the  beautiful 
meaning  of  the  word  *  community,'  and  Goethe's 
charming  lines  came  into  my  head : 

'  Was  ist  heilig  ?     Das  ist's,  was  viele  Seelen  zusammenbindet 
War's  auch  nur  so  leicht,  wie  die  Binse  den  Kranz.'  | 

Good-bye,  dear  5ms^. — With  kindest  remembrances, 

your  affectionate  and  devoted 

Herzogenbergs. 

How  your  letter  in  La  Mara§  did  amuse  us!  She 
evidently  does  not  see  what  a  reflection  it  is  on  her 
book.  Your  letter,  by  the  way,  gave  no  clue  to  your 
present  whereabouts. 

*  Op.  52. 

t  Frau  Bertha  Hartmann,  widow  of  the  poet  Moriz  Hartmanii,  of 
Vienna,  and  a  friend  of  Billroth's. 

\  From  Goethe's  Seasons  ('  Autumn,'  No.  69). 
§  See  Letter  149,  note. 


SECOND  VIOLIN  SONATA  297 

195.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December  31,  1886.] 

I  am  sending  off  sonata  and  trio*  to-day.  Please 
let  me  have  a  line  to  say  they  have  arrived  safely  with 
their  wrappers!  in  spite  of  its  being  New  Year's  Eve. 
I  hope  the  festive  season  will  leave  you  some  free  time, 
so  that  you  can  write  me  the  few  nice  things — and 
your  scruples.  It  goes  without  saying  that  I  want 
them  back  as  soon  as  possible  I  Will  the  Schumann 
symphony  soon  come,  and  have  you  arrived  at  a 
rehearsal?! — Yours,  t   gj^ 

196.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Berlin]  December  31,  1886. 

My  dear  Friend,  —  We  were  at  dinner,  Joachim 
with  us,  when  your  two  registered  packages  arrived. 
Naturally,  we  finished  with  all  speed  and  fell  to  on  the 
sonata.  I  assure  you  the  trial  performance  was  any- 
thing but  unsatisfactory. §     Thank  Heaven,  the  thing 

*  Op.  100  and  Op.  loi. 

t  Brahms  always  sent  his  manuscripts  in  an  ordinary  wrapper  by 
book-post,  if  possible.  Once,  in  Vienna,  a  friend  brought  him  back 
the  score  of  the  E  minor  symphony  which  he  had  had  to  look  at, 
and  was  horrified  to  see  Brahms  hurriedly  tie  it  round  with  a  piece 
of  tape,  and  address  it  to  Joachim  just  as  it  was.  On  his  friend's 
entreaty  that  he  would  register  it,  Brahms  replied :  '  Nonsense  ! 
Stuff  like  this  doesn't  get  lost.  If  by  chance  it  should,  why,  I  should 
write  out  the  score  again,  that's  all.  All  the  same,  I  will  be  good, 
and  register  things  in  future.'  To  send  off  a  parcel  with  all  the 
attendant  formalities  of  seaHng,  filling  in  declaration  forms,  etc.,  was 
really  a  nightmare  to  the  impatient  composer.  Pohl,  and  later 
Mandyczewski,  were  always  willing  to  take  it  off  his  hands  ;  but  he 
did  not  care  to  give  them  the  trouble,  and  always  tried  to  despatch 
his  things  in  the  quickest  and  easiest  way. 

I  Cf.  Letters  189- 191.  §  Cf.  Letter  193. 


298  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

is  nothing  like  so  difficult  as  Frau  von  B told  me 

in  her  letter.  It  was  only  in  the  last  movement  that 
I  had  some  trouble  with  the  rhythm.  But  what  a 
charming,  happy  inspiration  of  yours  it  is  !  The  whole 
piece  is  one  caress.  How  delighted  I  was,  too,  to  meet 
and  embrace  the  melody  of  the  Klaus  Groth  song*  in 
the  first  movement  ?  The  first  movement  is  so  clear 
and  sunny,  the  pastorale  in  the  second  so  lovely  (we 
played  it  quite  beautifully  straight  away),  and  the  third 
will  end  by  becoming  my  favourite.  You  see  what 
pleasure  you  have  given  us,  but  why,  oh  why,  did  you 
disappoint  us  so  grievously  by  not  sending  the  parts 
of  the  trio  ?  If  you  want  to  begin  the  New  Year  well, 
please  forward  them  at  once.     Joachim  implores  you ! 

Please  put  up  with  this  shortest  of  notes.  It  is 
merely  a  form  of  receipt,  given  at  Berlin  W.,  on  the 
31st  inst.  at  8.30  p.m.,  still  warm  from  the  excitement 
of  playing  and  enjoying  the  new  acquaintance. 

Please,  please  send  the  parts  of  the  trio.  We  shall 
have  time,  and  you  will  have  everything  back  very 
quickly. 

Your  piece  is  so  lovable,  you  must  be  the  same,  and 

make  us  happy  with  those  trio-parts. — Your  grateful 

and  happy  ^  tt 

^^•^  Klisabet  Herzogenberg. 

The  symphony  t  is  to  be  played  shortly.  The  only 
reliable  copyist  took  such  an  age  to  write  it  out. 

*  The  second  subject  of  the  sonata  in  A  (Op.  100)  is  a  variant  on 
the  theme  of  Wie  Mclodien  zieht  es,  and  at  the  same  time  an  affec- 
tionate remembrance  of  Klaus  Groth.  The  song  was  composed 
before  the  sonata,  and  stands  in  the  same  relation  to  it  as  Regenlied 
(another  Groth  song)  to  the  violin  sonata  in  G.  There  is  another 
reminiscence  in  the  A  major  sonata — the  touch  of  Auf  dem  Kirchhofe 
(Op.  105,  No.  4)  in  the  last  movement. 

t  Schumann's  D  minor  symphony  in  the  original  version. 


THE  C  MINOR  TRIO  299 

197.  Brahms  to  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  January  8,  1887.] 

To-day  is  Thursday,  so  I  can  give  you  till  Monday. 
Please  remember  me  to  your  guests  and  your  musi- 
cians. 

I  should  think  the  trio  Finale  requires,  first  very 
careful  handling,  then  the  reverse  ! — Ever  yours, 

J.  Br. 

198.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  January  9  and  10,  1887. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  v^ill  pack  up  your  music 
to-morrow  first  thing,  but  must  get  a  little  note  written 
to-day,  which  shall  at  least  tell  you  of  our  delight  in 
the  new  pieces,  if  nothing  else.  It  would  be  even  more 
idiotic  than  usual  if  this  poor  little  midge  should  set 
herself  to  catalogue  her  impressions,  and  attempt  to 
explain  why  it  is  all  so  beautiful.  I  could  not  do  it 
with  any  conviction,  if  I  would ;  for  I  confess  I  think 
the  particular  success  of  these  compositions  is  due,  not 
to  any  particular  features  one  could  point  out,  but  to 
the  fact  that  they  were  evidently  inspired  from  above. 
You  were  indeed  highly  favoured !  Few  things,  I 
imagine,  have  ever  been  so  perfectly  proportioned  as 
this  trio,  which  is  so  passionate  and  so  controlled,  so 
powerful  and  so  lovable,  so  terse  and  so  eloquent.  I 
suspect  your  feelings  as  you  wrote  the  last  bar  were 
very  much  those  of  Heinrich  der  Vogler,  in  his  prayer  : 
'Thou  gavest  me  a  goodly  haul,  for  which  I  thank 
Thee,  Lord  ' 

I  find  all  the  four  movements  fascinating,  but  the 


300  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

last  proved  the  most  exciting,  as,  indeed,  a  Finale 
should.  It  does  not  make  the  others  less  beautiful. 
Could  anyone  imagine  anything  more  lovely  than  the 
gentle  Andante  with  its  tender  duologue  between  piano 
and  strings  ?  The  first  movement  is  glorious,  with  its 
exquisite  second  subject  and  the  working-out,  as  fine 
as  it  is  short.  One  can  find  no  fault  with  it  until  the 
end,  and  then  only  because  it  is  over  and  one  would 
like  more  But  the  pearl  among  them  all  is  of  course 
the  second,  muted  movement,  which  is  truly  irresistible. 
Its  ghost-like  figures  ('lovely  phantoms,' as  Heinrich 
says)  are  so  tangible  in  their  beauty. 

If  you  knew,  dear  Friend,  how  happy  this  piece  has 
made  us  I  We  have  no  greater  pleasure  in  the  world 
than  that  we  derive  from  your  music.  You  will  not 
feel  aggrieved,  I  hope,  if  I  fail  to  manifest  any  of  the 
scruples  you  so  kindly  ordered.  I  really  cannot  dis- 
cover any,  and  should  have  to  be  a  very  punctilious 
person  to  find  anything  to  complain  of.  We  were  all 
surprised  to  find  you  did  not  give  us  a  second  subject 
in  the  last  movement;  but,  after  all,  the  good  God 
makes  some  flowers  with  five  sepals  and  some  with 
more,  and  they  invariably  turn  out  well,  His  flowers ! 
And  if  you  can  produce  such  a  flow  of  movement 
without  a  second  subject,  why  should  we  dictate  a 
diff'erent  method  to  you  ?  It  is  only  that  we  are  such 
creatures  of  habit,  and  you  so  seldom  swerve  from 
tradition  in  these  matters,  that  it  comes  as  a  shock. 
At  the  close  of  the  trio  Andante  you  have  varied  the 
passage  shared  by  violin  and  'cello — the  violin  in 
double  notes.     The  first  time  it  comes  it  is  : 


SECOND  VIOLIN  SONATA  301 

January  lo. 

I  was  interrupted  last  night,  dear  Friend,  by  the 
arrival  of  the  Wildenbruchs,*  and  refrained  con- 
scientiously from  even  glancing  at  the  music  this 
morning,  for  fear  of  delaying  it ;  so,  as  I  cannot  quote 
it  accurately  from  memory,  I  will  only  say  that  the 
first  version  is  quite  easy,  according  to  Joachim,  and 
much  nicer  than  the  second,  where  you  crossed  out 
the  middle  parts.  He  thinks,  much  better  leave  it  as 
it  was.  Your  music  has  made  us  all  blissfully  happy. 
We  are  so  full  of  it,  we  can  talk  of  nothing  else.  The 
Wildenbruchs  were  delighted  too.  He  is  hard  of 
hearing,  by  which  I  mean  hard  to  move  to  enthusiasm 
in  respect  of  music ;  but  yesterday  he  quite  melted, 
and  opined  that  the  trio  was  a  perfect  expression  of 
your  character.  I  quite  agree  ;  indeed,  it  is  better  than 
any  photograph,  for  it  shows  your  real  self 

I  did  so  want  to  address  your  music  to  Frankfurt. f 
I  have  quite  a  bad  conscience  when  I  am  allowed  to 
see  any  of  these  things — even  though  it  be  by  the 
merest  chance — before  that  dear,  blessed  woman  over 
there,  who  has  first  claim  to  all  the  good  and  beautiful 
things  in  the  world,  and  especially  to  your  music.  I 
know  how  she  is  longing  to  see  them,  and  I  am  sure 
you  will  be  kind — kind  and  sweet  as  your  kindly 
A  major  sonata — and  send  the  things  to  Frankfurt  at 
once  if  you  can  possibly  spare  them.  And  please  send 
me  that  new  thing  for  chorus.f  I  am  so  eager  to  see 
it,  and  you  must  be  in  a  generous  frame  of  mind, 
induced  by  all  the  glorious  music  you  have  composed  ; 
so  strike  the  iron  (of  kindness)  while  it  is  hot,  and 

*  Legaiionsrat  Ernst  von  Wildenbruch  (b.  1845),  poet  and  novelist. 
—Tr. 
t  To  Frau  Schumann.  %  ^^  Herbst,  Op.  104,  No.  5. 


302  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

put  a  wrapper   round  that  chorus  piece,  won't  you, 
please  ? 

No  one  could  open  it  with  keener,  thirstier,  more 
loving  looks  than  Heinrich  and  myself.  I  think  1  am 
safe  in  claiming  that  the  said  Heinrich  constitutes  your 
very  best  public,  for  nothing  could  exceed  his  delight, 
his  dear,  intelligent,  sincere  delight  in  any  new,  beau- 
tiful work  of  yours.  How  I  pity  the  musician  who, 
incapable  of  such  enthusiasm,  is  peevishly  occupied  in 
recording  or  defending  his  own  successes,  great  or 
small!  Think  if  I  had  married  X,  or  Y !  I  should 
never  have  survived. 

But  good-bye  now.  If  you  send  the  chorus,  please 
enclose  Heinrich's  four  madrigals  (I  packed  them  up 
with  my  own  hands).  I  hope  you  liked  them  a  little. 
We  heard  In  der  Nacht^  here,  and  it  really  sounded 
like  velvet — or  so  his  wife  thinks.  The  entries  of  the 
basses  at  the  end  are  magnificent. 

Be  nice,  and  send  us  something  else  to  occupy  our 
affections  soon. 

I  should  so  like  to  make  up  my  mind  about  the  tempi 
in  the  last  movement  of  the  trio.  When,  when  shall 
we  see  it  again  ! — Your  grateful  friend, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

199.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Berlin]  January  9,  1887. 

Dearest  Friend, — Your  last  chamber-music  pieces 
proved  a  positively  royal  gift,  not  only  to  my  wife,  but 
particularly  to  us  men — Joachim,  Spitta,  Hausmann, 
and  myself  They  are  constructed  in  the  plainest 
possible  way  from  ideas  at  once  striking  and  simple, 

*  Published  later  among  the  Scchs  Gcsiinge  fur  gemischien  Chor  a 
capella,  Op.  57. 


SONATA  AND  TRIO  303 

fresh  and  young  in  their  emotional  qualities,  ripe  and 
wise  in  their  incredible  compactness.  The  result  is 
some  of  the  most  convincing  music  I  know,  and  the 
general  tendency  of  the  form  is  as  surprising  as  it  is 
instantly  satisfying. 

We  had  a  foretaste  in  the  'cello  sonata,*  and  now 
the  violin  sonata  and  the  triof  seem  to  us  the  perfect 
development  of  this  new  drift.  No  one,  not  even 
yourself,  can  say  what  it  will  lead  to ;  let  us  hope  it 
will  clear  the  field  and  leave  the  giants  in  possession. 
Smaller  men  will  hardly  trust  themselves  to  proceed 
so  laconically  without  forfeiting  some  of  what  they 
want  to  say.  We  felt  almost  like  the  Fisherman  in 
the  Arabian  Nights,\  out  of  whose  tiny  box  an 
enormous  genius  sprang,  the  difference  being  that 
we  could  hardly  feel  surprise  at  the  contents  of  the 
box,  though  we  were  the  more  amazed  at  the  small 
space  in  which  they  were  confined. 

And  where  shall  I  begin  to  quote  examples  ?  The 
second  movement  of  the  trio  remains  the  most 
marvellous,  for  there  you  strike  an  entirely  new  note ; 
and  yet  its  character  is  so  well  established  by  the  first 
few  bars  that  one  feels  it  to  be  an  old  acquaintance. 
Not  until  the  whole  short  movement  has  flitted  past 
us  do  we  realize  that  it  is  the  clear-cut  outline  which 
enabled  us  to  grasp  it  instantaneously.  Then  the 
Andante  from  the  violin  sonata !  We  fell  in  love 
with  it  on  the  spot,  of  course.  At  first  I  did  not 
quite  like  the  idea  of  the  lovely  F  major  lady's 
betrothal  to  that  melancholy  Norwegian  jester  ;§  how- 

*  Op.  97.  t  Op.  100  and  Op.  loi. 

%  The  adventures  of  Diandar,  the  fisherman. 

§  Herzogenberg  means  the  D  minor  vivace,  which  alternates  three 
times  with  the  Andante  tranquiUo  in  F  major,  and  eventually  closes 
the  movement.  It  is  slightly  reminiscent  in  general  colouring  to 
Grieg's  violin  sonata,  Op.  8. 


304  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

ever — so  long  as  the  union  turns  out  well,  and  they 
have  plenty  of  children  ! 

The  Finale  of  the  violin  sonata  affected  us  curiously. 
Joachim  and  1  did  so  want  a  second  subject,  just  where 
you  reach  the  E  major  chord  through  the  dominant 
7th  on  B,  after  those  long,  winding  arabesques.*  We 
listened  open-eared  and  open-mouthed;  but  the 
moment  passed,  and  the  principal  subject,  which  is 
really  exquisite,  made  its  reappearance.  We  pedants 
should  either  have  regained  the  dominant  of  the 
principal  key  by  an  interrupted  cadence,  or  b}^  a  full 
close  leading  to   some  new  combination,  or  at  least 

introduced  a  long  pedal  note  on  E  with  p  forming  the 

bridge  into  A  major.!  Ah  yes,  we  pedants  !  And 
what  avails  all  our  learning  against  your  determina- 
tion, when  the  one  is  as  completely  at  your  disposal 
as  the  other  is  beyond  our  reach  !  The  first  move- 
ment of  the  sonata  has  a  very  special  place  in  our 
affections.  The  effect  of  the  unconcerned  lapse  into 
C  sharp  minor  (in  the  development)!  is  original  and 
very  charming,  also  the  gay  re-entry  of  the  first 
subject  in  A  major,  which  has  the  air  of  shaking 
itself  free  of  the  development  section  with  a  smiling 
*  Well,  that's  over,  my  friends ;  now  let  me  go  my 
ways  in  peace.'    To  return  to  the  trio,  that  cleverly 

dissected  ^  bar§  is  bewitching;  and  so  is  the  manner 

in  which  the  two  choruses  relieve  each  other,  changing 
over  as  easily  as  if  they  were  three  people  rehearsing 
a  well-known  piece  and  picking  up  their  cues  from 
memory.     You,   meanwhile,    betray   not   the   faintest 

*  P.  48,  bar  18.  t  p.  8,  bar  i.  |  P.  8,  last  bar. 

§  Brahms  divides  it  as  follows:  f +  |  +  f  {Andante  grazioso). 


SONATA  AND  TRIO  305 

interest  in   your   puppets,    but   leave   them    to    their 

own   devices.      Your   big   paw   comes   down   heavily 

with  the  very  opening  of  the   Finale,  however,  and 

one  sees  stars,  and  begins  to  count  the  slain ;  at  least, 

it  nearly  proved  the  death  of  my  wife,  that  stormy 

semiquaver    passage*   in   particular.      How   splendid 

the  pp   subject   is,  with   chords   for   the   strings  and 

splashes    for    the    piano,t    and    then     the    coda    in 

C  major  with  the  subject  played  legato^  and  finally  the 

tremendous  jubilations,§  where  the  rhythm  would  not 

come  right — not  that  it  matters !     And  here  I  am  on 

the  point  of  forgetting  the  second  subject  in  the  first 

movement,!  for  which  I  could  kiss  your  hand  if  you 

were  Liszt,  but  then  you  would  never  have  had  the 

inspiration ! 

Well,  if  the  blessings  and  thanks  of  an  old  cackler 

like  myself  are  of  any  account,  I  hope  you  will  accept 

them,  together  with  my  apologies  for  failing  to  provide 

a  more  suitable  wrapper  for  the  music.lF — Ever  yours 

sincerely,  xt 

•^  Herzogenberg. 

200.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  January  15,  1887.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  have  to  thank  you  for  a  pleasant 
evening  and  a  pleasant  morning;  the  one  brought  your 
letter,  and  the  other  the  many  enclosures  which  I  un- 
folded one  after  the  other  from  your  rolls — to  my 
delectation  in  every  respect. 

The  *  night-song  '**  sounded  like  velvet  in  my  ears 

*  P.  27,  bar  15.  t  p.  26,  bar  ii.  |  P.  34,  bar  6. 

§  P.  35,  tempo  primo.  ||  P.  4,  bar  3. 

^  Herzogenberg's  own  compositions. 
**  Herzogenberg's  chorus  In  der  Nacht,  from  Op.  57. 

20 


3o6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

too,  and  I  secretly  wished  a  certain  pretty  little 
woman  were  coming  to  play  it  with  me  a  quatre 
mains.  I  think  I  liked  that  one  best.  It  is  the  first 
time,  however,  that  I  have  desired  or  needed  a  lady's 
assistance,  for  I  invariably  play  duets  by  myself.  So 
far  the  violin  sonata  appeals  to  me  least ;  it  smacks 
more  (so  far)  of  Berlin  streets  than  of  lovely  Berchtes- 
gaden  walks. 

I  consider  myself  a  very  knowing  fellow,  by  the 
way,  to  think  out  tunes  and  develop  them  while  I  am 
out  walking.  Heinz's  things,  more  than  anyone  else's, 
make  me  think  of  myself,  and  recall  the  scene  and  the 
manner  of  my  own  struggles  to  learn  and  to  create. 

He  really  knows  and  understands,  and  that  is  why 
I  treasure  and  depend  on  his  approval  (with  yours 
thrown  in). 

His  knowledge  is  wider  and  more  accurate  than 
mine ;  but  that  is  easy  to  explain.  What  I  do  envy 
him  is  his  power  of  teaching.  We  have  both  trodden 
the  same  steep  paths  with  the  same  plodding  earnest- 
ness. Now  he  can  do  his  part  to  spare  others  the 
weary  effort.  Berlin  is  responsible  for  much  talk  and 
much  bad  method,  but  better  days  seemed  to  have 
dawned  there  for  the  present  generation. 

You  must  forgive  me  for  replying  to  so  much  else 
with  a  hasty  'thank  you.' 

It  is  to  be  hoped  you  can  guess  how  much  nicer  I 
really  am  than  I  appear. — Kindest  regards.     Yours, 

J.Br. 

201.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  March  i,  1887. 
My  dear  Friend, — I  am  returning  you  the  Schumann 
symphony  with  many  thanks.     You  will  think  it  a 


ELISABET  AS  PIANIST  307 

nuisance,  because  there  is  duty  to  pay  on  it,  but  I  dare 
not  send  it  by  book-post. 

Your  charming  letter  in  response  to  my  fat  parcel 
gave  us  indescribable  joy.  It  means  more  to  Heinrich 
to  have  you  write  like  that  than  to  receive  an  order 
pour  le  merite^  and  he  sends  his  warmest  thanks.  His 
only  hope  is  that  you  will  not  find  the  violin  sonata 
so  Berlinerisch  on  closer  acquaintance.  I  think  you 
would  not  say  that  of  three  big  things  for  chorus, 
which  you  have  not  seen  yet.  Oh,  why  can't  we  be 
together  sometimes !  Heinrich  so  longs  for  it,  and 
it  would  mean  so  much  to  him.  And  you  would  have 
some  pleasure  in  our  company  too,  when  you  read  in 
our  faces  our  delight  in  yours.  Oh  that  trio !  I 
wrote  out  a  whole  heap  of  the  C  minor  movement 
for  our  angel,*  and  the  Andante  too.  They  two  will 
sit  at  the  piano  and  enjoy  the  beautiful  fragments, 
while  he,  the  favoured  one  who  heard  the  trio  at  our 
house,  will  discourse  learnedly  about  it.  Those  are 
the  sort  of  people  one  would  rather  have  here  than  at 
Utrecht.  .  .  .t 

Hausmann  is  playing  Heinrich's  sonata  on  the  i6th, 
and — can  you  believe  it — with  me  !  He  has  invited 
none  of  the  critics,  and  I  therefore  took  courage, 
for  we  really  agree  about  the  piece  and  play  it  well 
together.  I  even  cherish  the  secret  desire  to  play 
your  sonata  !  I  should  not  breathe  this  to  anyone  else, 
but  I  know  you  will  only  be  good-naturedly  amused 
at  my  presumption.  And  now  I  have  still  to  ask  you 
to  put  those  choruses  t  into  an  envelope — will  you  ? 

*  Frau  Engelmann. 

+  The  passage  omitted  consists  of  a  violent  tirade  on  the  indecisive, 
opportunistic  attitude  of  the  Musikalisches  Wochenblatt,  and  an  urgent 
request  that  Brahms  would  interfere  and  set  everyone  to  rights. 

X  Herzogenberg,  Op.  52. 

20 — 2 


3o8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

But  I  should  have  congratulated  you  on  your  Order 
pour  le  merite*  The  truth  is,  I  can't  help  feeling  more 
inclined  to  congratulate  the  Order  in  a  case  like  this ; 
for  it  may  flatter  itself  on  having  come  to  the  right 
person  for  once. 

Last  of  all,  I  should  like  to  suggest  that  when  you 
put  Heinrich's  choruses  into  their  cover  you  might 
slip  in  something  else  besides.  I  know  you  have 
written  some  choruses  yourself,t  so  why  not  show 
them  to  a  pair  of  lovers  like  ourselves,  who  are 
yearning  to  see  them  ? 

Be  a  nice  kind  person  and  think  of  us  occasionally. — 

Your  very  devoted 

Herzogenbergs. 

202.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  March,  1887.] 

Alas,  dear  friend,  newspapers  have  become  a  neces- 
sary evil,  and  I  fear  the  habit  of  reading  even  musical 
gossip  has  grown  too  strong.  Admitting  this  to  be 
so,  I  consider  Fritzsch's  the  most  practical  and  toler- 
able— I  hesitate  to  say  the  best.  As  to  the  others, 
from  the  Signale  to  Chrysander,  I  can  call  them  bad — 
without  hesitation. 

As  for  the  violent  tone,  I  hardly  think  that  a  dis- 
advantage ;  it  rouses  such  readers  as  take  it  seriously 
to  closer  attention  and  to  protest.  You  know  you 
would  never  touch  a  flabby  thing  like  the  Signale  or 
the  more  ambitious  .  .  .  ? 

Fritzsch  does  not  rouse  me  to  protest,  principally 

*  Brahms  had  just  received  this  high  distinction.  The  Order  was 
founded  by  Frederick  the  Great,  and  has  rarely  found  its  way  to  the 
*  wrong '  person. 

t  Fiinf  Gesdnge  fiir  gemischUn  CJior  a  capella,  pubhshed  1889. 


MUSIC  AND  JOURNALISM  309 

because  he  deals  with  us  mortals  of  to-day  and  yester- 
day. Now  Chrysander  succeeded  in  enraging  me  to 
the  point  of  protesting.  I  could  not  stand  the  way  he 
advertised  the  Mozart  things,  for  instance,  without 
a  trace  of  affection  or  piety,  and  distorting  the  facts 
to  suit  his  own  preconceived  notions.  Yet  we  allowed 
this  treatment  of  our  glorious  Mozart  to  pass,  and  con- 
tinued to  respect  Chrysander,  as  indeed  he  deserves ! 

Again,  it  is  a  matter  of  supreme  indifference  to 
friend  Fritzsch  whether  we  respect  him  and  his  paper 
or  not. 

By  which  I  merely  mean  that  a  journalist  is  in 
much  the  same  case  as  a  parson.  If  you  must  protest, 
why  stop  at  defending  Heinrich  and  abusing  Fritzsch  ? 
Look  at  your  Berlin  papers  and  your  Berlin  public 
next  time  the  latest  filth  from  Paris  arrives,  and  then 
look  at  the  interest  and  attention  men  like  Heyse, 
Keller* — and  greater  than  they — receive  !  And  do 
you  really  believe  they  would  play  one  note  of  my 
music  in  Berlin  if  French  composers  of  to-day  had 
a  shade  more  talent  ? — and  so  on,  and  so  on.  I  only 
wish  to  persuade  you  to  let  it  pass,  remembering  that 
Fritzsch  is  a  decent,  well-meaning  fellow  in  himself, 
and  that  by  going  over  to  the  Hochschule  you  have, 
after  all,  come  within  his  legitimate  line  of  fire.  .  .  . 

But  I  cannot  write  any  more,  and  would  much 
rather  have  written  of  other  matters. 

Fortunately  my  sheet  is  full,  and  I  must  not  spoil 
the  sweet  picture,  t 

So  good-bye. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.  Br. 

*  Paul  Heyse  and  Gottfried  Keller  were  among  Brahms's  favourite 
poets. 
t  A  portrait  of  Hans  von  Biilow  adorning  the  note-paper. 


310  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

203.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April,  1887.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  am  going  to  Italy,*  and  shall 
be  at  Thun  from  about  the  middle  of  May  onward. 

As  I  shall  be  making  no  music  myself,  you  might 
send  me  your  new  things  to  look  at  there.  They  will 
sound  very  beautiful  with  the  ripple  of  the  river  coming 
through  the  open  window.f 

If  it  were  not  too  lengthy,  I  would  tell  you  in  detail 
how  the  warning  which  you  thought  so  desirable  has 
descended  on  Fraulein  Spies,  and  how  well  Hanslick,J 
who  felled  the  blow,  came  out  of  it  all — as  usual. 

But  I  have  all  my  belongings  to  pack  up.  A  line 
here  would  still  reach  me,  as  I  start  on  the  26th. 
Once  I  am  at  Thun,  however,  I  appeal  to  your  charity 
for  a  good  supply  of  summer  reading. — Yours, 

J.  Br. 

*  Brahms's  companions  on  his  fifth  Italian  tour  were  Fritz  Simrock, 
his  publisher,  and  Theodor  Kirchner,  who  came  as  Simrock's  guest. 
Writing  to  Biilow,  Brahms  says  :  *  Simrock's  happy  thought  of  giving 
Kirchner  a  glimpse  of  the  promised  land  delighted  me,  but  I  now 
fear  it  is  at  least  twenty  years  too  late.  At  least,  I  suspect  he  only 
feels  really  at  home  when  he  sits  down  to  dinner  or  supper,  and  can 
chat  about  the  Gewandhaus  and  other  splendours.'  The  outward 
tour  included  Verona,  Vicenza,  Venice,  Bologna,  and  Florence,  the 
return  being  made  by  way  of  Pisa,  Milan,  and  the  St.  Gothard  to 
Thun,  where  Brahms  arrived  on  May  15  for  the  summer. 

t  Brahms's  summer  house  at  Hofstetten,  near  Thun,  was  beside 
the  River  Aar,  at  the  point  where  it  bends  to  flow  into  the  town. 
There  is  a  picture  of  the  house,  with  its  commemorative  tablet,  on 
plate  XXV.  of  the  Brahms-Bilderbuch,  edited  by  Viktor  von  Miller. 

I  Hanslick  had  raised  a  warning  voice  in  the  Neue  Freie  Press e, 
drawing  the  singer's  attention  to  various  defects  of  style.  It  is  true 
she  had  fallen  a  victim  to  an  *  East  Prussian  catarrh '  in  between,  and 
her  voice  had  suffered  considerable  injury. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  ILLNESS  311 

204.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Berlin,  May  16,  1887.] 

My  dear  Friend, — At  last  we  know  where  to  find 
you  again,  and  I  am  writing  without  delay  at  my  poor 
Heinrich's  request.  He  has  been  seriously  ill  for 
nearly  six  weeks  now,  and  I  have  had  an  anxious 
time  ;  I  can  hardly  say  it  is  over  yet,  although  I  am 
no  longer  so  alarmed. 

We  took  advantage  of  our  short  Easter  holiday  of 
seventeen  days  to  pay  a  flying  visit  to  Florence  too, 
for  the  sake  of  my  dear  old  mother,  who  was  anxious 
to  see  us.  It  is  only  a  day  and  a  half  s  travelling,  and 
we  can  stand  these  enforced  journeys  very  well ;  but, 
unfortunately,  the  weather  was  icy,  and  one  so  easily 
takes  cold  there  with  those  wicked  stone  floors  and 
those  tricky  little  alleys  which  are  so  villainously 
draughty.  Poor  Heinz  fell  a  victim  to  a  sudden  attack 
of  rheumatism  towards  the  end  of  our  stay,  and  had 
to  make  the  journey  back  under  painful  conditions. 
Once  here,  he  developed  something  more  serious,  and 
was  soon  unable  to  put  his  right  foot  to  the  ground. 
He  was  kept  in  bed  suffering  intensely,  and,  worst  of 
all,  the  doctors  (for  I  had  to  call  in  a  second)  were  at 
a  loss,  and  could  neither  tell  how  serious  it  was  nor 
what  course  the  disease  was  likely  to  follow.  It  seems 
the  symptoms  were  strangely  contradictory.  They 
finally  diagnosed  an  inflammation  of  the  os  sacrum^ 
but  the  application  of  ice-bags  increased  the  pain  to 
such  an  extent  that  they  had  to  reject  the  theory. 
Our  own  dear  doctor  from  Leipzig,  who  hurried  over 
unprofessionally  to  reassure  himself,  took  it  to  be 
inflammation  of  the  hip-bone  ;  but  that  had  to  be  given 
up  too,  and  we  now  call  it  muscular  rheumatism  ! 


312  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

All  this  would  be  more  comic  than  tragic  were  it 
not  for  the  uncertainty  of  the  treatment.  The  pains 
have  yielded  to  morphia  injections,  thank  Heaven !  but 
he  makes  no  progress  in  walking.  For  the  last  ten 
days  he  has  been  able  to  hobble  about  with  crutches, 
but  only  a  few  steps  at  a  time  and  with  great  difficulty. 
He  was  always  so  gay,  and  has  not  been  ill  once  in 
all  these  eighteen  years,  which  makes  this  suffering 
and  enforced  idleness  doubly  hard  to  bear ;  even  his 
patience  is  not  equal  to  it.  Yesterday,  for  the  first 
time,  we  were  able  to  cheer  him  a  little  with  some 
music.  We  played  him  your  trio,  your  glorious  trio, 
beloved  above  all  things,  and  the  effect  of  it,,  together 
with  the  society  of  the  two  players,  was  a  great  im- 
provement in  spirits.  He  sends  a  thousand  thanks 
for  the  precious  gift  and  the  kind  thought  which 
prompted  it.* 

He  also  thanks  you  very  much  for  the  parcel  sent 
before  you  left,  with  the  interesting  photographs.  We 
had  not  seen  that  lovely  van  Eyck  before.  Fraulein 
Spies  told  me  how  good  you  had  been  to  her,  and  how 
glad  she  was  you  spoke  to  her.  She  was  quite  willing 
to  take  anything  from  me  too,  and  expressed  herself 
to  that  effect  in  a  very  nice  letter.  But  I  was  tied  by 
my  husband's  illness,  and  she  was  unable  to  keep  the 
appointment  we  made. 

We  searched  that  envelope  in  vain  for  the  chorus,t 
to  which  we  are  looking  forward  so  eagerly.  Now 
that  Heinz  is  so  ill,  and  sadly  needs  distraction,  you 
will  send  him  it,  however,  won't  you,  dear  Friend  ? 
We  will  then  write  you  a  nice  long  letter,  and  sing 
your  praises  and  praise  your  kindness.     Do,  do  send 

■*  Brahms  had  sent  them  a  printed  copy  of  the  trio. 
t  Im  Herbst,  Op.  104,  No.  5. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  ILLNESS  313 

something.  To-morrow  I  am  to  play  your  sonata* 
with  Joachim  by  order  of  Heinrich  the  hungry.  Then 
comes  the  turn  of  the  'cello  sonata,  and  after  that  we 
start  on  the  old  beloved  round  again. 

Heinrich  sent  you  his  two  new  choruses  t  through 
Astor,J  and  begs  you  to  say  a  kind  word  about  them. 
He  is  longing  for  it.  So  you  are  in  Switzerland  again, 
far  away  from  us,  and  I  suppose  we  shall  not  see  you 
again  all  our  days,  which  is  a  sad  thought ! 

We  are  only  staying  here  as  long  as  we  are  abso- 
lutely obliged.  As  soon  as  Heinrich  is  equal  to  sitting 
in  the  train,  we  shall  go  to  Nauheim  (between  Frank- 
furt and  Giessen),  and  try  what  vigorous  treatment 
will  do  towards  driving  out  the  rheumatic  pains. 
After  that  we  hope  to  be  different  beings,  and  propose 
to  rest  from  our  labours  at  quiet  Liseley.  I  am  keep- 
ing exceedingly  well,  and  my  capacity  of  nurse  calls 
out  all  the  strength  of  which  I  have  a  store  in  reserve 
against  emergencies. 

Good-bye,  dear  Friend,  and  send  something  nice  for 
my  poor  cripple. 

All  happiness  and  prosperity  to  you  throughout  the 
summer — the  reflection  to  fall  on  your  ever  faithful 

Herzogenbergs. 

205.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Thux,  May  26,  1887.] 
Our  friend  Astor  has  just  sent  me  the  sumptuous 
sequel   to   your   letter,  and   I  must   send  a  word  of 
thanks  at  once,  also  my  heartfelt  sympathy  to  Heinz. 

*  The  A  major  sonata. 

t  Der  Stern  dcs  Licds,  ode  for  chorus  and  orchestra,  Op.  55,  and 
Die  Wcihc  der  Naclii,  for  contralto,  chorus,  and  orchestra,  Op.  56. 
X  Of  the  publishing  firm  Rieter-Biedermann. 


314  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  know  of  a  similar  case  here,  about  which  I  will  tell 

him  w^hen  his  speedy  recovery  is  an  established  fact. 

Had  I  anything  remotely  approaching  these  things  of 

his  to  send,  I  would  not  keep  you  waiting.*    But  there 

is  nothing  that  is  any  good,  and  I  don't  know  what 

ground  you  have  for  your  kind  supposition. 

Don't  leave  me  without  reports  of  Heinz,  however 

brief.  ,    ^ 

J.  Br. 

206.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg, 

[Thux,  July  20,  1887.] 

Poor  Heinz !  and  poor  Liseley  and  poor  Lisel  into 
the  bargain  !  How  sorry  I  am  about  it  all,  and  how 
I  wish  I  may  very  soon  be  able  to  send  you  another 
reminder,  and  thus  enjoy  the  feeling  of  being  present 
with  you !  This  is  an  occasion  for  writing  or  sending 
something  really  pleasing,  but,  alas  !  I  can  neither  send 
a  lot  of  beautiful  new  compositions,  like  Heinz,  nor 
acknowledge  things  in  more  beautiful  words  like  you. 
I  can  but  keep  my  pen  going  a  little,  begging  you  to 
recognize  my  good  intentions,  and  this  exchange  of 
coin  may  prove  profitable  to  us  both. 

The  best  thing  that  came  my  way  this  summer  was 
a  delightful  couple  of  days  spent  with  Frau  Schumann.f 

*  He  was  probably  not  satisfied  with  his  new  compositions,  and 
wanted  to  improve  them. 

t  Brahms  had  promised  his  friend  Wiillner,  much  against  his  will, 
as  he  insisted  in  a  letter  of  many  pages,  to  go  to  Cologne  for  the 
twenty-fourth  Tonkunstler-Versammluiig,  where  the  following  of  his 
works  were  performed  :  Darihulas  Grabgesang  (from  Op.  42),  the 
Triumpiilied,  the  violin  concerto  (Brodsky),  and  the  new  C  minor 
trio,  in  which  Brahms  was  associated  with  Hollander  and  Hegyesi. 
Richard  Pohl,  who  plumed  himself  on  '  discovering '  Brahms  on  this 
occasion  (c/.  Kalbeck,  Brahms,  i.  216),  described  the  trio  in  the 
Wochenblatt  as  '  hardly  among  the  most  striking  of  his  chamber-music 


THE  DOUBLE  CONCERTO  315 

I  must  at  least  give  you  that  information,  and  tell  you 
how  entirely  I  agreed  with  your  words  of  some  time 
back.  But  I  can  give  you  nothing  worth  calling 
information  about  the  undersigned  musician.  True, 
he  is  now  writing  down  a  thing  which  does  not  yet 
figure  in  his  catalogue — but  neither  does  it  figure  in 
other  people's!*  I  leave  you  to  guess  the  particular 
form  of  idiocy ! 

If  I  were  able  to  talk  to  Heinz,  I  should  have  a  great 
deal  to  say  about  his  chorus  works;  but  I  should  never 
be  able  to  write  it  all.  A  mere  *  bravo  f  won't  do  it.  You 
know  well  with  what  pleasure  and  interest  I  look  at  the 
things.  I  am  sure  none  of  their  beauty  and  delicacy 
escapes  me,  and  I  am  often  vastly  entertained  by  Hein- 
rich's  skill  in  adapting  difficult  words  in  the  text. 

But  that  is  just  it :  I  am  obliged  to  protest  against 
the  poems  t  (as  is  so  often  the  case  with  new  composi- 
tions), which  are  totally  unsuited  to  a  musical  setting 
both  in  form  and  contents. 

Of  course  one  ought  to  hear  these  things  first  to 
find  out  if  it  is,  after  all,  possible  to  enjoy  them. 

Reading  them  is  quite  another  matter,  and  has  its 
advantages  as  well  as  its  disadvantages. 

I  can  see  Heinz's  admirers  (SpengelJ  in  Hamburg 
is  one)  waxing  enthusiastic  over  Nachtweihe. 

works.  On  the  way  Brahms  called  on  Frau  Schumann,  and  removed 
a  slight  misunderstanding  which  had  clouded  their  friendship 
temporarily. 

*  The  double  concerto  for  violin  and  'cello. 

t  The  words  to  Stern  des  Lieds  and  Weihe  der  Nachi  are  by  Robert 
Hamerling  and  Friedrich  Hebbel  respectively. 

I  Julius  Spengel  (b.  1853),  composer  and  conductor  of  the  Hamburg 
Cdcilienverein.  In  1898  he  published  an  interesting  character  study 
of  Brahms,  and  in  1897  an  essay,  Heinrich  von  Herzogenbcrg  in  scinen 
Vokalwcrken^  published  later  by  Rieter-Biedermann. 


3i6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  fear  the  words  would  prevent  me,  however  fine 
the  music. 

For  instance,  take  ^ Ich  hatte  viel  Bekummernis^ ;^  you 
may  repeat  it  (in  music)  as  often  as  you  like.  I  shall 
understand  it  and  follow  it  with  interest  until  you 
arrive  at  Trostungen. 

If,  on  the  other  hand,  you  begin  by  treating  *  Was 
da  iebfe^'t  fugally,  I  have  no  clue  for  the  time  being. 
Your  next  phrase — *was  aus  engem^ — is  no  more  en- 
lightening, and  by  the  time  the  sentence  is  finished  I 
find  I  have  been  listening  solely  to  the  music,  and  am 
still  not  much  the  wiser.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  you 
attempt  a  whole  sentence  as  in  ^  Seele^  du,^t  I  see,  of 
course,  that  you  are  taking  pains  to  speak  plainly ;  but 
the  music  confuses  me,  and  I  still  do  not  know  what  I 
have  heard. 

Only,  please  remember,  all  this  has  first  to  be  proved. 

Hamerling's  plaint  is  the  kind  of  poem  that  does  not 
attract  me  particularly.  All  the  same,  I  would  write 
music  to  it  with  the  greatest  pleasure — if  I  were 
inspired  to  anything  like  the  cheerful,  festive  march 
in  E  flat  from  The  Ruins  of  Athens.^  The  'chosen 
one 'II  should  hover  in  the  air  to  just  such  music — 
but  I  should  laugh  the  poet  Hamerling  to  scorn  at  the 
same  time.  Even  more  than  in  the  other  song,  I  am 
conscious  here  of  the  tendency  (often  unavoidable) 
to  turn  every  comma  into  a  (musical)  full  stop. 

*  Bach  cantata. 

t  The  whole  sentence  reads :  '  Was  da  lebte,  was  aus  engem  Kreise 
auf  ins  Weite  strebte,  sanft  und  leise  sank  es  in  sich  selbst  zuriick ' 
(Hebbel). 

I  '  Seele,  du  wachst  noch  '  (Hebbel). 

§  Beethoven.  Brahms  places  Hamerling's  ode  on  a  level  with 
Kotzebue's  poem  d' occasion,  which  Beethoven  set  to  music. 

II  '  Mag  freudenleer  hinziehn  ein  Erkorener.' 


SEVERE  CRITICISM  317 

In  between  I  have  been  out  for  an  hour's  walk.     I 

would  really  rather  send  the  nearest  empty  sheet  with 

a  simple  greeting  than  this  confused  twaddle.     But 

you  must  believe  I  mean  well.     My  greetings  are  the 

same  as  of  old,  I  am  the  same  as  of  old,  and  ever  yours 

sincerely,  t   t^ 

-^  J.  Br. 

207.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Thun,  July  23,  1887.] 

I  am  feeling  most  rueful  about  my  very  unseemly 
and  superfluous  chatter  the  other  day.  It  would  be  a 
real  consolation  if  you  would  write  just  a  line  to  say 
that  you,  at  least,  took  it  for  chatter  and  nothing  else. 
We  have  all  sinned,  and  fall  short  of  the  glory  of 
God ! 

Well,  I  can  only  say  I  shall  not  succumb  to  the 
temptation  of  a  sheet  of  note-paper  again  for  some 
time ! 

But  I  wish  you  all  things  good  and  beautiful.  You 
can  leave  grumbling  and  its  consequences  to  yours 
very  sincerely,  .   p. 


208.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

LiSELEY,  July  27,  1887. 

My  dear  Friend, — You  need  not  feel  rueful.  We 
are  glad  to  have  either  your  grumblings  or  your 
flattery,  and  when  you  combine  the  two,  as  in  your 
very  nice  Munich  letter,*  Heinrich  is  the  first  to  say, 

*  The  letter  bore  the  postmark  Thun;  but  Frau  von  Herzogenberg 
was  at  Munich  when  it  came,  and  therefore  calls  it  a  Munich  letter. 


3i8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

'God  bless  you'!  Naturally  he  would  have  been 
pleased,  poor  devil  I  had  you  been  able  to  say  of 
any  one  movement :  *  1  like  that.'  You  know  your- 
self what  a  difference  that  makes,  and  you  are 
spoiled  while  he  is  not — consequently  it  means  a 
hundred  times  as  much  to  him.  But  these  are  merely 
my  remarks — his  wife's,  who  alone  has  the  right  to 
make  them.  He  sends  many,  many  thanks  for  your 
kind  letter. 

1  can  give  no  good  account  of  my  poor  dear.  The 
famous  Ziemssen*  held  out  small  hope  of  a  speedy 
recovery  when  we  were  in  Munchen.  He  took  it  to 
be  an  obstinate  muscular  complaint  (his  nerves  seem 
only  indirectly  affected,  as  they  would  be  in  any 
illness),  and  was  of  opinion  that  a  strict  course  of 
treatment,  after  a  few  weeks  of  rest  here,  would  be 
absolutely  necessary.  We  shall  probably  have  to 
go  to  a  hydro  where  Heinrich  can  be  treated  by 
electricity,  massaged,  wrapped  in  wet  cloths,  and 
taken  in  hand  in  every  possible  sort  of  way.  Ziemssen 
insists  on  hot  sand-baths  and  plenty  of  gymnastics 
as  being  of  primary  importance,  and  hopes  for  some 
visible  result  from  this  polyphonic  Kur  after  six  weeks 
or  so. 

So  we  shall  hardly  be  able  to  return  to  Berlin  in 
October.  Heinrich's  patience  is  incomparable,  really 
splendid,  and  how  can  I  complain,  with  that  before 
me  ? — not  to  speak  of  the  advantage  I  have  in  being 
actively  employed  in  his  service.  I  have  to  plan  out 
everything;  to  nurse  him,  electrify,  bandage,  dress  and 
undress  my  sick  child,  and  there  is  no  time  left  for 
brooding.  Also,  thank  God !  I  am  an  inveterate 
optimist,  which  is  a  help  both  to  him  and  myself.  But 
*  H.  W.  von  Ziemssen,  a  Munich  specialist. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  ILLNESS  319 

it  is  not  an  easy  time,  all  the  same,  and  I  shall 
heave  a  very  special  sigh  of  relief  v^hen  I  can  say : 
it  lies  behind  me. 

Naturally,  we  are  quite  of  your  opinion  as  to 
Hamerling's  text.  We  never  liked  it,  but  it  is  tempting 
to  set  to  music  ;  and  if  one  can  only  forget  the  author, 
it  even  strikes  one  as  beautiful  in  places.  If  you  do 
happen  to  be  keen  on  v^^riting  for  chorus,  and  feel  you 
must  unburden  your  soul  by  composing  in  that  par- 
ticular form,  you  end  by  making  a  compromise. 
You  can  like  a  text  on  so  many  different  scores. 
Very  often  it  does  not  show  to  advantage  until  it  is 
seen  in  its  musical  setting — as,  for  instance,  your 
NaMwandlerlied*  v^hich  I  should  consider  far  from 
edifying,  were  it  not  for  your  music. 

Well,  when  you  see  the  psalm  f  I  really  think  you 
will  be  satisfied  with  my  Heinrich. 

I  must  really  close.  Please  excuse  this  unsatis- 
factory letter.  I  never  have  more  than  five  consecutive 
minutes  at  my  disposal,  now  that  I  am  a  perfect  slave, 
more  like  a  human  sponge  than  a  human  being ;  a 
bad  friend  and  a  worse  correspondent. 

Write  again  soon  and  send  that  chorus,  for  I  happen 
to  know  that  Billroth  has  seen  it.J — Your  old  friend, 

L. 

*  Op.  86,  No.  3.     Text  by  Max  Kalbeck. 

t  Ps.  xciv.,  for  four  soloists,  double  chorus,  orchestra,  and  organ 
(Op.  60). 

I  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Brahms  had  sent  the  much-discussed  chorus, 
together  with  other  new  compositions,  to  Billroth  from  Thun  on 
August  18,  1886,  Billroth  being  one  of  the  few  privileged  to  see  his 
works  before  they  were  printed.  Frau  von  Herzogenberg  may  have 
had  her  information  from  Frau  Hartmann. 


320  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


209.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Telegram  from  Baden-Baden,"* 
September  25,  1887.] 

Neuwittelsbach  Hydropathic,  Neuhausen.  Expect 
me  to-morrow  morning. — Br. 

210.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  October  15,  1887.] 

Epstein  has  just  sent  me  your  card,  which  grieved 
me  very  much.  How  I  wish  I  could  offer  you  any 
little  pleasure  or  distraction  !  The  concerto t  could 
only  be  the  latter  at  best.  Perhaps  I  may  send  it  you 
from  Cologne,  which  is  my  destination  to-day. 

All  kindest  messages  to  your  dear  invalid.     Keep 

up  your  own  natural  gaiety,  and  hope  confidently  for 

better  times  soon. — Ever  yours, 

J.  Br. 

211.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Neuwittelsbach,  near  Munich, 
October  18,  1887.] 

My  dear  Friend, — Your  dear  kind  post-card  did  me 
so  much  good,  and  recalled  so  vividly  the  hours  you 
spent  here  with  us.    I  should  have  written  long  before 

*  Brahms  had  gone  to  Baden-Baden  to  meet  Joachim  and  Haus- 
mann  on  September  19,  and  rehearse  the  double  concerto  for  violin 
and  'cello  with  the  municipal  orchestra  at  the  Kurhaus,  and  also,  as 
he  expressed  it  in  a  letter  to  Frau  Henriette  Fritsch  at  Marseilles,  to 
'  practise  hard.'  The  first  performance  was  announced  for  October  18 
at  Cologne,  the  second  for  November  18  at  Frankfurt,  and  the  third 
at  Basel. 

t  Op.  102. 


TWO  INVALIDS  321 

this  to  thank  you  anew  for  the  precious  gift  of  your 
friendship,  had  we  not  been  so  far  in  the  depths  our- 
selves that  my  courage  failed  and  my  heart  despaired. 
It   is  no  better  now  ;  each  new  day  is  inexorable  in 
bringing   the   old   pains,   added  to  which   I  am  bed- 
ridden myself.     It  was  all  through  the  doctor's   too 
vigorous    application    of    cold    water    bandages     for 
bronchial  catarrh  (before  you  came),  the  result  being 
a  skin  affection,  an  artificial  illness   induced   by  the 
remedy  for  a  natural   one !     It   began   to   spread   so 
alarmingly,  and  the  pressure  of  my  clothes  made  it 
worse.     So  I  could  not  stay  up  any  longer,  and  here 
I  am  useless,  a  creature  of  luxury — and  my  poor  dear 
wants  help  so  badly.    Our  only  distraction  is  the  snow, 
which   has    been    falling   steadily   in   huge,   noiseless 
flakes   for  three   days  ;   our  consolations,  a  splendid 
little   stove  and  a   good  room,  with  windows  facing 
south,  although  no  sun  comes  in  through  them  ;  our 
pleasures,    an   occasional   kind   letter  (Joachim's  the 
day  before  yesterday,  for  instance,  with  the  three  first 
quartets),  and   your  card  with  its  enticing  promise ! 
Our  dear  old  mother,  who  nurses  us  devotedly  and 
reads  to  us,  is  also  a  blessing.     After  all,  there  is  no 
comforter  like  a  mother. 

You  will  send  the  concerto,  won't  you  ?  It  will 
cheer  our  very  souls,  and  prove  the  best  possible 
medicine. 

Remember  us  to  Joachim  and  Hausmann.  Have  a 
good  time,  all  of  you,  and  think  of  these  poor  wrecks, 

The  Herzogenbergs. 
Remember  us  kindly  to  the  Wiillners,  too,  please. 


21 


322  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


212.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg, 

[Vienna,  November  4,  1887.] 

I  shall  not  worry  you  to  return  the  score  in  any 
haste.  I  only  wish  it  were  something  better,  some- 
thing that  would  make  you  forget  all  your  sorrow  and 
pain  for  a  little.  1  don't  know  why  Wullner  did  not 
send  it  a  fortnight  ago.  However,  he  will  conduct 
your  choral  piece  all  the  better  at  the  next  concert* 
You  may  feel  quite  comfortable  about  it,  and  follow 
an  excellent  performance  in  imagination.  Be  sure  you 
keep  me  posted  up.  You  don't  know  how  much  my 
thoughts  are  wrapped  up  with  you.  I  hope  you  will 
soon  be  able  to  write  more  cheerfully,  and  tell  me  that 
you  are  able  to  go  South. — Ever  yours  most  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

213.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December  16,  1887.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  can  only  send  a  line  in  haste 
to  ask  you  to  forward  my  score  to  Meiningen.  I  go  to 
Pesth  to-day,  then  to  Meiningen,  and  then  to  Leipzig 
for  the  New  Year's  Day  concert.  Everything  has  to 
be  done  post-haste,  or  I  would  have  written  more 
leisurely.  But  you  must  forgive  me,  and  be  sure  to 
send  a  line  to  say  how  you  and  Heinz  are.  I  did  hear 
of  some  improvement,  and  hope  you  will  confirm  it. 
Joachim  and  I  talked  much  of  you  on  our  travels. 
You  may  have  heard  of  our  doings  from  Volkland  and 

*  Wiillner  performed  Herzogenberg's  Die  Weihe  der  Nacht  at  the 
third  Giirzenich  concert,  Cologne. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  ILLNESS  323 

others.*     I  hope  to  be  back  immediately  after  New 

Year,   and   should  be   uncommonly  grateful   for  any 

letters ! — Most  sincerely  yours, 

J.  Br. 

214.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Munich,  Hess  Strasse  30, 
December  30,  1887. 

My  dear  Friend,  —  This  is  only  a  greeting  —  a 
melancholy  one — to  show  you  my  frame  of  mind  when 
I  think  of  you  all  together  at  Leipzig,!  while  we  are 
so  far  away  in  a  strange  town.  O  Humboldtstrasse, 
O  Zeitzerstrasse,  *  how  shady  were  thy  branches !'  Ah 
yes,  those  happy  days  have  faded,  together  with  all 
our  youthful  courage !  Now  we  live  by  hope  only, 
with  patience  and  resignation  for  our  daily  bread. 
Sometimes  I  think  it  never  will  be  the  same  again, 
and  down  goes  my  head  into  my  hands,  while  the 
tears — which  I  can  generally  control — trickle  down. 
So  long  as  you  feel  you  have  it  in  you  to  be  happy, 
gay,  even  young  again,  it  is  really  too  soon  to  give  up 
all  the  good  things  of  life  and  sign  a  compact  with 
grim  care. 

God  grant  we  may  soon  see  better  days.  I  some- 
times feel  my  strength  failing  me,  my  natural  gaiety, 
as  you  call  it,  vanishing  beyond  recall.  My  invalid 
is,  on  the  contrary,  amazing,  and  quite  himself  the 
moment  the  pains  abate.  His  mind  is  quite  clear  too. 
He  made  an  elaborate  speech  on  the  use  of  the  sub- 

*  At  Meiningen,  on  December  25,  Brahms  conducted  his  Haydn 
Variations^  the  third  symphony,  and  the  B  flat  major  piano  concerto 
(D' Albert).  On  January  3  the  double  concerto  was  played  there  for 
the  first  time. 

t  Joachim  and  Hausmann  played  the  double  concerto  at  the 
Gewandhaus  on  January  i,  Brahms  being  the  conductor. 

21 — 2 


324  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

dominant  and  its  substitutes  the  other  day,  and  is  able 
to  enjoy  the  score  of  your  concerto,  which  so  often  lies 
open  on  his  bed.  As  I  told  you,  he  could  never  have 
done  that  at  Neuwittelsbach,  and  I  have  therefore 
every  reason  to  believe  he  is  making  progress.  Yet 
the  actual  disease — w^hich  is  the  main  thing^s  dis- 
tressingly immovable,  and  the  doctor  has  prepared  us 
to  expect  nothing  good  from  the  winter.  After  that 
we  are  to  consult  him  again ;  and  will  it  be  any  better 
even  then  ? 

I  don't  need  to  tell  you  how  much  I  have  thought 
of  you  and  the  friends  in  Leipzig.  How  they  must 
be  looking  forward  to  seeing  you  and  your  new 
piece — the  dear  Engelmanns  and  the  Rontgens,  for 
instance !  What  a  delightful  fuss  they  will  make  of 
you  !  If  only  I  could  hear  just  the  rehearsal  to-morrow, 
I  should  have  a  general  idea  of  the  concerto,  whereas 
I  can  only  take  in  fragments  of  it.  That  most  lovely 
Andante  is  easy  to  grasp  as  a  whole,  of  course,  but  I 
had  no  time  to  study  the  other  movements  properly. 
If  I  am  able  to  write  to-day  to  all  my  dear  friends 
assembled  in  Leipzig,  it  is  only  by  giving  up  my  con- 
stitutional (on  which  the  doctor  rigidly  insists),  and 
thanks  to  Fillu's*  help  in  housekeeping.  She  has 
been  with  us  since  Christmas,  but  leaves  to-morrow, 
unfortunately. 

Farewell,  dear  good  Friend.  You  know  our  red- 
letter  days  at  Leipzig  were  those  of  your  visits,  and 
the  very  keenness  of  our  pleasure  then  makes  our 
absence  this  time  doubly  hard,  especially  under  such 
circumstances.  My  poor  Heinrich  sends  you  kindest 
messages,  as  does  your  old  friend, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

*  Fraulein  Marie  Fillunger. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  ILLNESS  325 

215.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  February,  1888.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  often  reproach  myself  for  not 
writing  to  you,  yet  I  find  it  impossible.  In  the 
ordinary  way  I  can  think  of  you  hopefully,  but  once  I 
sit  down  to  write,  with  the  idea  of  saying  something 
comfortable  and  hopeful,  all  my  thoughts  turn  to  sad- 
ness. I  don't  care  to  ask  for  news,  for  as  soon  as  you 
can  report  any  improvement  you  w^ill  not  fail  to  com- 
municate with  your  friends.  How  I  look  forward  to 
some  such  cheery  message  ! 

You  will  have  heard  from  plenty  of  sources  that  you 
were  never  *  absent '  from  our  little  gatherings.  It  is 
the  same  here — your  picture  stands  on  my  writing- 
table* — I  never  see  any  of  our  mutual  friends  but  the 
conversation  turns  upon  you ;  particularly  is  this  the 
case  with  friend  Epstein. 

Can  you  not  at  least  make  your  plans  for  spring  and 
summer? 

I  mean  to  write  to  you  frequently  if  briefly.  Perhaps 
I  may  then  find  it  easier ;  for  now,  as  I  turn  the  page, 
I  find  I  cannot  go  on.  I  have  no  desire  to  start  a  fresh 
subject,  neither  can  I  worry  you  with  questions. 

If  you  are  able  to  write  at  all,  remember  no  one 

could  be  more  sincerely  pleased  to  hear  than  myself. 

Remember  me  most  kindly  to  your  dear  Heinz,  and, 

if  possible,  tell  me  a  little  how  things  are.     I  often 

wonder,  for  instance,  whether  you  have  a  piano,  and 

can  play  and  sing  to  him,  also  whether  you  have  any 

nice   friends   in   Munich  ? — As   of   old,   your  sincere 

friend,  ,   ^ 

J.  Br. 

*  Brahms  kept  her  photograph  there  until  his  death. 


326  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

216.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  February  15,  1888.] 

When  your  message  (for  which  I  here  tender 
sincerest  thanks)  was  delivered  to  me,  I  heard  that 
Frau  Franz  had  tried  to  send  you  some  very  beautiful 
flowers  (bulbs).  The  parcel  was  returned,  however, 
and  the  most  tiresome  formalities  ensued,  all  because 
there  was  no  accompanying  form  to  guarantee  the 
absence  of  Phylloxera  vastatrix !  Are  they  secretly 
planting  vineyards  in  Bavaria,  or  does  the  little  beast 
like  beer  too ! 

Anyway,  you  can  see  that  we  think  of  you  in  Vienna, 

including  myself,  even  if  I  don't  send  flower  messages. 

— Kindest  regards.     Yours, 

J.Br. 

217.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg. 

[Vienna,  March,  1888.] 

Dear  Lady, — I  think  you  may  be  glad  that  I  am 
less  delicate  in  m}^  feelings  than  Frau  Franz,  to  whom 
the  idea  of  your  dear  little  house*  being  let  to  strangers 
was  sacrilege. 

I  am  probably  too  late  to  put  in  a  word  for  her,  but 
should  like  to  propose  Professor  Gomperz,t  who  would 
be,  I  imagine,  a  good  tenant. 

To  balance  this,  I  have  refrained  from  the  still 
greater  indelicacy  of  sending  you  some  excessively 
gay  stuff":]:  of  mine,  which  a  few  people  here  are  very 

*  *  Liseley,'  the  house  standing  empty  at  Berchtesgaden. 
t  Dr.  Thcodor  Gomperz,  Professor  of  classical  philology  in  Vienna. 
X  The  Zigeunerlieder  for  vocal  quartet,  with  pianoforte  accompani- 
ment (Op.  103). 


'  PHYLLOXERA  VASTATRIX '  327 

fond  of  singing  and  hearing.  I  should  never  keep 
back  from  you  anything  more  serious  or  enjoyable — 
had  I  but  an  inspiration ! 

But  I  do  so  want  a  line  from  you.  I  suppose  my 
letter*  was  not  of  the  sort  to  deserve  a  reply. 

It  is  not,  alas  !  by  writing  letters  that  I  can  hope  to 

gain  anything. — Yours  most  sincerely, 

J.Br. 

218.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms.\ 

Munich,  Hess  Strasse  30, 
February  16,  1888. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — It  did  my  heart  good  to  see 
your  handwriting  again  and  have  your  letter  of  three 
pages  and  a  half,t  with  its  after-drip  of  a  post-card 
to-day  telling  me  of  Frau  Franz's  glorious  flowers. 
They  are  quite  mad  on  the  subject  of  the  phylloxera 
here.  Some  years  ago  we  wanted  to  transplant  two 
harmless  carnation  cuttings  from  Dozen  (where  they 
grow  particularly  fine)  to  Berchtesgaden,  and  were 
treated  like  thieves  and  murderers  when  we  reached 
the  Bavaria  frontier.  The  flowers  were  escorted  back 
into  Austrian  territory  by  our  kind  Salzburg  coach- 
man, and  after  much  controversy  (for  naturally  I 
refused  to  yield  an  inch)  they  came  back  to  us,  labelled 
with  their  Bozen  medical  certificate,  but  twisted  and 
pulled  about,  and  quite  worthless,  having  cost  us 
roughly  about  ten  gulden.  It  is  a  wicked,  senseless 
imposition.  I  am  miserable  to  think  that  Frau  Franz's 
kindness  should  meet  with  such  a  reward. 

*  Refers  to  Letter  215. 

t  This  letter,  begun  on  February  16,  was  set  aside,  resumed  on 
March  6,  and  finally  despatched  on  March  9, 
X  Refers  to  Letter  215. 


328  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

And  now  thank  you  for  your  kind  little  letter,  dear 
Friend — whose  questions  I  am  always  glad  to  answer, 
even  if  the  answers  cannot  be  cheerful.  Heinrich's 
condition  is  such  that  we  can  only  make  negative  plans 
at  j?resent.  We  know  all  the  things  that  cannot 
happen — as,  for  instance,  no  Liseley  for  us  next 
summer,  no  return  to  Berlin  in  the  winter,  for  the 
whole  of  that  season  will  have  to  be  spent  in  *  con- 
solidating' the  convalescence  which  favourable  cir- 
cumstances may  have  brought  about.  The  disease 
makes  such  frightfully  slow  progress,  and  in  any  case 
Heinrich  could  never  risk  another  northern  winter 
again  so  soon  ;  it  might  undo  all  that  we  hope  the 
summer  may  do  for  him.  This  is  the  opinion  not  only 
of  our  present  medical  attendant,  but  of  our  kind 
Leipzig  and  Berlin  doctors,  who  continue  to  take  the 
kindest  interest  in  us.  So  the  prospect  is  dreary 
enough  !  Heinrich  has'been  in  bed  nearly  five  months 
now  without  a  break,  for  his  right  leg  is  so  twisted 
and  stiff  that  he  cannot  even  sit  in  an  easy-chair.  The 
monotony  of  such  an  existence,  not  to  speak  of  actual 
pain  and  inconvenience,  is  terrible  to  anyone  as  gay 
and  lively  as  Heinrich,  who,  in  spite  of  the  psalmist's 
warning,  *  taketh  pleasure  in  his  legs,'*  his  nimble, 
indefatigable  legs.  This  mental  inactivity  too  !  Who 
would  not  be  rebellious  and  despairing?  I  will  spare 
you  the  description  of  our  dark  hours  together,  when 
my  poor  dear  gives  way  to  despondency. 

But  we  do  have  bright  moments  in  spite  of  our 
misery.  Heinrich  is  so  good  in  meeting  every 
pleasure,  every  distraction,  with  open  arms,  so  far  as 
his  physical  condition  allows.     He  hears,  for  instance, 

*  '  He  delighteth  not  in  the  strength  of  the  horse:  he  taketh  not 
pleasure  in  the  legs  of  a  man '  (Ps.  cxlvii.  lo). — Tr. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  ILLNESS  329 

a  little  music  very  occasionally — it  is  often  too  much 
for  him — played  by  me,  three  rooms  away.  The  last 
new  Bach  volume*  gave  us  great  joy ;  the  last  aria  for 
contralto.t  particularly,  with  the  lovely  poetic  vision  of 
a  dwelling  in  Paradise,  *  where  I  shall  find  rest,'  charmed 
us  each  time  afresh.  The  cantata  Come,  let  us  go  up 
towards  J erusalem^X  in  the  volume  before  this,  was  very 
touching  and  beautiful.  What  a  prophet,  what  a  poet 
this  Bach  of  ours  was  !  Every  Bible  verse  was  to  him 
a  picture,  a  complete  incident.  It  is  always  a  fresh 
surprise,  however  well  one  knows  him. 

March  6. 

My  dear  Friend,  I  am  really  ashamed  to  take  this 
embryo  letter  from  my  case,  where  it  has  grown  old ; 
yet  I  am  not  inclined  to  suppress  it,  for  you  will 
realize  how  tied  I  am  by  the  fact  of  my  being  content 
to  patch  up  this  feeblest  of  letters  when  I  can  scribble 
so  rapidly  at  other  times.  You  dear,  kind  Friend,  indeed 
your  letter  was  *of  the  sort'  to  deserve  and  inspire  a 
far  speedier  reply,  only  you  see  how  I  am  fixed.  I 
have  just  had  an  unusually  bad  time,  which  cooled  all 
my  ardour  and  scattered  my  thoughts.  You  would  not 
believe  how  terribly  a  long  illness  and  nursing  absorb 
and  stupefy  both  patient  and  nurse,  nor  the  amount  of 
effort  any  communication  requires  when  the  person 
addressed  has  no  idea  of  the  writer's  condition — and 
that  you  cannot  have!  When  you  in  your  kindness 
came  to  see  us  at  Neuwittelsbach,  everything  was  mild 
by  comparison.     This  is  Heinrich's  sixth  month  in  bed 

*  The  Leipzig  Bachgcsellschaffs  publication. 

t  From   the   cantata   for   contralto   solo,   Vcrgnugie   Ruh',   in   the 
seventeenth  book  of  cantatas. 
I  Vol.  xvi.,  No.  159. 


330  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

— an  illness  in  itself  apart  from  pain !  You  inquire  so 
kindly  after  our  life  outside,  and  whether  we  have  a 
nice  'circle'  of  friends.  I  could  not  help  laughing,  for 
we  are  literally  as  solitary  as  Florestan  ;*  and  yet  not 
quite  literally,  for  we  have  Dr.  Fiedlerf — a  splendid, 
really  exceptionally  fine  man,  rich  in  ideas,  delicate, 
high-minded,  and  exceedingly  sympathetic  in  manner  : 
we  value  his  acquaintance  greatly,  and  are  much 
touched  by  his  persistence  in  coming  to  see  us.  Then 
there  is  his  wife,  a  bright,  kind-hearted  woman  whose 
devotion  to  Wagner  forms  rather  a  bar  to  closer  in- 
timacy, however;  also  Levi,t  whom  one  can't  help 
liking,  in  spite  of  constant  wrangling.  He  is,  after 
all,  upright  and  genuine,  and,  given  those  qualifica- 
tions, one  can  put  up  with  most  things.  He  is  like 
a  Jesuit  on  the  track  of  heretics,  and  is  for  ever  preach- 
ing to  me  the  one  and  only  chance  of  salvation. 
Fanatics  invariably  practise  on  us  poor  women,  who 
are  supposed  to  be  incapable  of  resistance  !  However, 
as  I  have  parried  his  blows  so  far,  and  kept  myself 
well  in  hand,  we  have  settled  down  amicably  to  a 
state  of  honourable  feud.  How  Levi,  with  his  fine 
musical  feeling,  could  be  victimized  by  so  many 
coarser  natures  is  a  mystery  to  me.  It  is  not  so 
much  his  Wagner  worship,  for  he  is  one  of  those 
who  need  a  deity  before  whom  they  can  prostrate 
themselves,  but  there  are  various  side-issues  where 
his  usually  keen  discernment  is  quite  at  fault ;  and 
his  unconditional  devotion  to  Wagner,  his  insensibility 
to  the  weak  places  in  Parsifal  and  other  things,  are 

*  The  hero  in  Fidelio,  who  was  left  to  languish  in  a  dungeon. 

t  A  literary  man,  living  at  Munich,  whose  wife  afterwards  married 
Levi. 

X  Hermann  Levi  (1839-1900),  Gcneralmusikdirektor  at  Munich,  was 
intimate  with  Brahms  in  the  'sixties  and  'seventies. 


ZOLLNER'S  'FAUST'  331 

hard  to  understand.  Well,  at  least  he  did  not  defend 
the  symphony*  when  I  abused  it  thoroughly  as  being 
really  remarkably  meaningless ! 

I  have  heard  next  to  nothing  this  winter,  as  my 
*  outings'  have  to  be  few  and  far  between.  Since  the 
middle  of  December  I  have  not  left  the  sick-room  for 
a  single  evening,  in  spite  of  the  doctor's  frequent 
remonstrances.  Who  could  think  of  their  own 
amusement  with  anyone  so  dear  as  my  Heinz  is  to 
me  on  their  hands,  especially  in  the  evening,  when 
he  depends  on  me  so  entirely  to  read  aloud  to  him 
or  encourage  him.  Some  time  ago  I  went  out  of 
curiosity  to  see  Zollner's  Faust.\  Of  course  the 
whole  thing  is  monstrous  from  an  artistic  point  of 
view,  an  incredible  undertaking ;  but  there  are 
occasional  signs  of  a  remarkable  talent  gleaming  out 
of  the  mass  of  shallow^  insipidity.  Gretchen's  descrip- 
tion of  the  graves  and  the  mother's  head-shaking  are 
really  thrilling,  while  the  beggar's  song  is  so  charming 
that  I  wrote  it  down.  The  figure  of  Faust  is  deadly 
dull  throughout — how  should  it  be  otherwise?  Where 
is  the  mortal  who  could  produce  a  musical  embellish- 
ment worthy  of  such  words,  such  gold  from  heaven  ? 
And,  indeed,  who  would  desire  anything  so  sumptuous? 
There  is,  as  Hanslick  points  out,  little  enough  of 
'infinite  melody'  in  this  work.  It  is  rather  Schu- 
mannesque  than  Wagnerian,  with  the  exception  of 
the  love-scene,  where  the  fiddles  become  duly  ecstatic 
and  semi-hysterical ;  for  no  one  seems  to  venture  any 
variation  from  the  Wagnerian  tradition  in  describing 

*  The  symphony  composed  by  Wagner  in  1832  {cf.  Letter  45, 
postscript). 

f  Heinrich  Zolhier  (b.  1854)  produced  a  musical  drama,  founded 
on  Goethe's  Faust,  in  1887. 


332  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  tender  passion.  Indeed,  one  of  the  most  pernicious 
results  of  Wagner's  influence  is  this  rejection  of  the 
fresher,  more  innocent  conception  of  sensuality  for  a 
sultry,  oppressive  atmosphere  of  supreme  desire  which 
arouses  a  kind  of  evil  conscience  in  the  listener — a 
feeling  that  his  presence  amounts  to  an  impropriety. 

We  are  most  grateful  to  you,  dear  Friend,  for  trying 
to  find  a  tenant  for  our  poor  Liseley.  I  am  enclosing 
a  small  plan,  which  I  will  ask  you  to  give  to  Professor 
Gomperz  (he  is  not  the  one  Fraulein  Bettelheim* 
married,  surely  ?).  If  they  seriously  consider  taking 
the  little  house,  I  am  of  course  willing  to  supply  any 
information.  You  might  mention  that  there  are  eight 
beds  and  bedsteads  complete,  and  that  we  have 
fixed  the  rent  at  forty  pounds.  Frau  Franz's  delicacy 
is  touching,  but  excessive  sensitiveness  is  a  luxury 
we  cannot  afford — an  illness  is  far  too  expensive 
a  matter. 

I  am  cherishing  the  hope  that  we  may  meet  this 
summer,  perhaps  stay  somewhere  together.  As  we 
have  to  choose  as  dry  a  climate  as  possible,  we  may 
happen  on  Switzerland,  which  you  seem  to  have 
chosen  as  your  headquarters.  How  I  wish  I  dare 
count  on  it ! 

March  9. 

There  is  to  be  a  consultation  one  of  these  days 
with  the  most  famous  surgeon  in  Munich — Professor 
Angerer — as  to  the  best  treatment  for  the  right  leg, 
which  now  shows  unmistakable  deformation,  and  can 
only  be  put  right  by  mechanical  appliances,  such  as 

*  Karoline  Bettelheim,  operatic  singer,  married  Julius  von  Gomperz, 
President  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  at  Briinnaud,  brother  of 
Professor  Gomperz. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  ILLNESS  333 

splints.  Heinrich's  own  wish  is  for  energetic  handling 
under  chloroform ;  but  our  own  doctor  is  afraid  of  the 
result,  as  it  is  impossible  to  ascertain  whether  the 
knee  has  lost  all  tendency  to  exudation.  In  any  case, 
poor  Heinrich  has  more  trouble  before  him  and  a 
lingering  malady.  Even  if  the  leg  can  be  straightened, 
it  can  hardly  become  supple  again.  You  might  ask 
Billroth  for  his  experience  of  mechanical  contrivances 
in  cases  where  deformation  has  set  in.  I  am  not 
hopeful !  Professor  Angerer  is  considered  a  great 
authorit}^,  and  I  shall  soon  know  his  opinion.  I  will 
then  write  again,  my  dear  Friend,  assured  as  I  am  of 
your  constant,  loving  sympathy. 

One  thing  more  about  Liseley.  I  suggested  to 
Minna  Wickenburg*  that  she  might  take  it — she 
wanted  to  find  something  fairly  near  Munich — and 
am  expecting  her  reply  daily.  I  hardly  think  it  will 
suit  her,  but  I  should  have  to  give  her  the  precedence. 
I  am  writing  to-day  to  tell  her  she  must  decide,  and 
let  you  know.  Her  reply  will  soon  reach  you,  as  she 
is  at  Gries. 

The  Kaiser's  death t  was  a  great  shock  to  us.  His 
venerable  figure  had  come  to  be  so  much  a  part  of  our 
lives  that  we  shall  find  it  hard  to  realize  that  he 
has  left  us.  I  remember  so  well  standing  in  a  close 
crowd  in  front  of  the  Friedrichsdenkmal  on  the  22nd 
last  year.t  All  at  once  his  figure  appeared  in  the  corner 
window,  and  a  chorus  of  cheers  went  up.  We  saw 
nothing  more,  for  the  tears  stood  in  our  eyes  as  we 
told  ourselves  it  was  probably  the  last  time.     Now 

*  Grdfin  Wickenburg  (c/.  Letter  185). 

t  The  death  of  Kaiser  Wilhelm  I.  (March  9,  i888)  had  affected 
Brahms  deeply  also. 

X  The  celebration  of  his  birthday,  March  22. 


334  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

he  is  dead,  and  the  poor  Crown  Prince*  as  good  as 
dead.  How  terrible  to  enter  upon  such  a  heritage  in 
his  condition !  To  have  spent  a  lifetime  in  expectation 
of  this  moment,  and  then  to  be  unable  to  say,  'Stay!' 
It  is  one  of  the  saddest  things  the  world  has  ever 
seen. 

It  is  strange  how  nearly  these  things  affect  one — 
affect  all  of  us.  The  proof  that  we  do  feel  a  close 
connection  is,  after  all,  consoling.  I  really  pity  French 
people.  Who  is  there  whose  death  could  affect  them 
to  the  extent  of  a  single  tear  ? 

But  now  good-bye.  Please  do  not  let  your  delicacy 
deprive  us  of  the  'excessively  gay  stuff' f  any  longer. 
It  is  the  very  thing  to  cheer  us  poor  things,  for  I  will 
admit — in  confidence — that  we  have  sunk  very,  very 
low. 

You  know  how  happy  we  used  to  be ;  for  in  spite 
of  the  one  great  thing  fate  denied  me,t  we  were 
content,  and  our  minds  were  as  perfectly  in  accord  as 
any  two-part  harmony.  Then  came  our  trial,  this  long 
bondage — stifling  all  our  freedom  and  light-hearted- 
ness — from  which  we  find  no  release.  It  is  not  easy 
to  keep  up,  but  I  try  hard ;  for  what  would  happen 
if  I  had  not  courage  for  two ! 

Good-bye.  Unmarried  people  are  in  so  far  enviable 
that  they  have  only  their  own  calamities  to  suffer,  yet 
I  would  not  change  with  anyone. 

Write  soon,  and  keep  us  in  your  affections,  please. 

You  know  our  devotion. 

Elisabet  H. 

*  Kaiser  Friedrich. 

t  The  Zigeunerlieder,  Op.  103. 

I  She  refers  to  her  childlessness. 


'ZIGEUNERLIEDER'  335 

219.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg, 

[Vienna,  March  ii,  1888.] 

My  dear  Friend, — What  you  tell  me  is  all  so  very 
sad.  Let  me  sympathize  in  silence,  and  hope  as 
silently.  I  should  have  been  glad  to  speak  to  Billroth, 
and  still  can ;  but  it  is  practically  no  good,  as  I  know 
from  experience.  Not  knowing  and  not  having  seen 
the  patient,  he  will  say  anything,  just  as  we  do  when 
people  ask  us  about  some  young  artist  whom  we 
do  not  know. 

One  thing  did  delight  me  exceedingly,  and  I  beg  you 
to  keep  it  well  in  sight — your  idea  of  spending  the 
summer  in  Switzerland  too.  Could  you  not  say  Thun 
at  once  ?  I  never  noticed  any  dampness  there,  as  at 
Ischl.  Not  only  I,  but  other  people,  sit  out  of  doors 
every  evening. 

My  house  there,  which  is  exceptionally  charming, 
and  might  have  been  made  for  you,  is  at  your  im- 
mediate disposal.  I  shall  easily  find  a  lodging  else- 
where. Be  sure  and  tell  me  what  you  propose  and 
finally  decide  to  do  with  regard  to  this. 

I  should  be  glad  to  think  the  enclosed*  had  provided 
you  with  an  hour's  amusement,  but  1  fear  the  humour 
will  prove  too  violent  in  the  quiet,  subdued  atmosphere 
of  your  room.  But  apart  from  that,  I  wonder  whether 
you  will  dislike  the  things  ?  In  any  case,  please  keep 
them  quite  to  yourselves.  When  you  return  them,  I 
shall  certainly  be  able  to  respond  with  some  small 
things  that  are  less  crude. 

I  saw  Allgeyer's  fine  essay,!  and  also  the  Feuerbach 

*  The  manuscript  of  the  Zigeunerlieder. 

t  Brahms  had  persuaded  Julius  Allgeyer  to  write  an  essay  on  their 
mutually  esteemed  friend,  Anselm  Feuerbach,  the  painter  (1829- 1880). 


336  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

sketches  published  recently.   Allgeyer  will  have  shown 
you  them,  no  doubt. 

*  *  utt  *  Mk 

I  have,  of  course,  been  much  affected  by  the  startling 
events  in  Germany.  It  is  all  on  a  scale — a  tragic  scale 
at  present — unparalleled  in  history. 

Kindest  messages  to  poor  dear  Heinz,  and  let  me 
have  a  line  soon. — Most  sincerely  yours, 

J.Br. 

2 20.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Munich,  March  25,  1888. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  told  you,  of  course,  of  the 
expected  consultation  with  the  principal  surgeon  here, 
Professor  Angerer.  It  took  place  on  Monday  evening, 
and  Angerer's  verdict  was  as  follows :  It  can  only  be 
cured  by  resorting  to  operative  measures — not  the 
slow  process  of  bandaging,  nor  by  forcible  extension 
{prisma  force),  but  simply  and  solely  what  they  are 
pleased  to  call  resection.  He  considered  the  knee  to 
be  in  a  very  serious  way,  the  kneecap  partially 
destroyed,  and,  in  short,  so  far  past  curing  by  any 
other  means  that  it  had  become  necessary  to  employ 
the  only  radical  method.  You  can  imagine  how  I  felt  I 
But  Angerer  announced  his  views  with  such  conviction, 
and  was  so  reassuring,  so  certain  as  to  the  result,  that 
I  immediately  felt  courageous  enough  to  persuade 
Heinrich.  But  he  hardly  needed  persuading.  One 
short,  touching  struggle  with  himself,  and  the  next 
morning,  when  the  doctor  came,  he  was  able  to  consent. 

The  essay,  which  subsequently  served  as  a  foundation  for  Allgeyer's 
biography  of  Feuerbach  (1894),  was  printed  in  the  Austrian  Weekly 
Journal  of  Science  and  Arty  edited  by  Bruno  Bucher,  a  friend  of 
Brahms's. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  OPERATION         337 

They  came  on  Friday  morning  at  8.30 — four  strong — 
to  butcher  my  poor  lamb.  The  drawing-room  was 
arranged  as  an  operating-room.  I  was  there  when 
they  sent  him  to  sleep ;  but  then  they  carried  him 
away,  and  I  was  not  allowed  over  the  threshold  of  the 
torture-chamber.  The  wife  was  left  to  bear  it  as  well 
as  she  could. 

Then  a  strange  thing  happened.  I  was  prepared 
for  the  operation  to  last  two  or  three  hours.  For  the 
first  three-quarters  there  was  not  a  sound  from  the 
other  room,  and  I  thought  they  were  merely  preparing 
for  the  real  horror,  when  suddenly  the  door  opened 
(at  9.30),  and  the  doctors  brought  him  back  all  neatly 
bandaged.  I  had  a  terrible  fright,  thinking  something 
dreadful  must  have  happened  to  interrupt  the  opera- 
tion. However,  thank  God,  it  was  all  happily  over, 
and  Heinrich  came  to  himself  again  gradually  in  bed. 
When  he  asked  for  our  doctor,  who  had  left  the  room 
for  a  moment,  and  I  told  him  how  glad  he  was  that 
it  had  all  gone  so  well  and  so  quickly,  the  poor  fellow 
exclaimed,  'What,  is  it  all  over?'  and  on  receiving 
my  assurance  he  burst  into  tears  of  joy.  You  can 
imagine,  dear  Friend,  how  one  feels  at  such  a  moment ; 
it  makes  up  for  all  the  trouble  and  heartache  without 
which  one  would  never  have  this  precious  experience. 

Angerer  says  the  operation  established  beyond  all 
doubt  the  necessity  for  action,  for  it  showed  the  worst 
possible  necrosis  of  the  kneecap.  Part  of  the  patella 
had  to  be  removed  too,  as  the  joints  did  not  fit  in 
properly ;  in  short,  the  leg  was  doomed  in  any  case. 
Now,  if  it  heals  all  right,  it  will  be  perfectly  straight,  if 
a  little  shorter;  stiff*  it  is  bound  to  be.  But  an  illness 
of  these  dimensions  makes  one  modest,  and  we  are 
grateful  for  even  this  much.     Heinrich  has  recovered 

22 


338  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

from  the  operation  astonishingly  well.  His  heart  and 
his  stomach  fulfil  their  functions  excellently,  and  this 
fact  stood  him  in  good  stead.  He  has  hardly  any 
fever,  and  the  doctors  are  well  satisfied.  Please  tell 
Billroth  about  it.  He  will  be  able  to  tell  you  better 
than  I  how  they  manage  'resections.'  The  joints  are 
sewn  together  with  catgut,  which  gradually  becomes 
absorbed.  That  amused  Heinz  somewhat.  He  sends 
his  very  kindest  regards.  Your  dear  songs*  were 
a  great  pleasure  to  him  just  before.  Send  something 
else  soon.  Please  tell  me  where  you  found  the  words.f 
The  line  of  the  melodies  often  strikes  me  as  being 
more  Bohemian-Dvofakesque  than  Hungarian. 

Please  give  our  good  Epstein  the  news,  also  Frau 
Franz  and  the  Fabers. — As  of  old,  your  devoted 

E.  Herzogenberg. 


221.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  end  of  March,  1888.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  rejoice  with  all  my  heart  to 
hear  that  you  are  at  last  relieved  from  your  terrible 
suspense,  and,  I  hope,  from  all  your  misfortunes  and 
troubles.  He  has  come  out  of  it  all  with  one  leg 
shortened  and  crippled — well,  I  think  I  could  accept 
that  legacy  without  any  particular  grief,  only  spare 
me  the  operation  and  the  season  of  terror  beforehand ! 

*  The  Zigeunerlieder. 

t  The  words  were  taken  from  Hungarian  volkslieder,  and  tran- 
scribed into  German  rhyme  by  Hugo  Conrat,  whose  house  in  Vienna 
Brahms  frequented  a  good  deal  at  the  time.  The  original  melodies, 
with  Conrat's  words  underneath,  were  pubhshed  at  Buda-Pesth  under 
the  title  Ungarische  Liebeslieder  :  25  ungarische  Volkslieder  fiir  mittlere 
Siimnie.    Klavierbcgleitung  von  Zoltdn  Nagy. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  OPERATION         339 

The  other  is  bearable,  and  again  I  rejoice  for  you  that 
the  worst  is  over. 

Thank  you  also  most  sincerely  for  letting  me  know 
at  once,  and  for  your  devotion  in  detailing  it  all  so  that 
I  can  follow  in  imagination.  I  shall  now  be  able  to 
discuss  it  with  Billroth. 

I  suppose  your  plans  and  prospects  for  both  summer 
and  winter  will  now  change  for  the  better  ? 

I  am  of  course  glad  for  the  coming  symphony- 
composers  in  Berlin,*  but  most  of  all  do  I  desire  to 
learn  your  summer  plans.  Please  tell  me  as  soon  as 
you  can.  I  expect  Berchtesgaden  smiles  on  you  again 
and  Thun  is  quite  dropped  ? 

Billroth  was  here  just  now,  and  I  read  your  letter 
through  with  him,  and  learned,  for  instance,  that  patella 
meant  kneecap.  It  is  as  well  though,  on  the  whole, 
that  I  am  not  required  to  set  down  all  his  learned 
remarks  in  writing !  Other  news  next  time.  For 
to-day  kindest  remembrances  from  your  overjoyed 

J.Br. 

1  will  give  Epstein  your  letter  to  read  this  evening. 


222.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Munich]  March  28,  p.m.,  il 
My  dear  Friend, — Thank  you  for  your  kind  letter 
and  your  charming  eagerness  in  arranging  summer 
plans  for  our  benefit,  even  to  the  extent  of  making 
over  to  us  your  lovely  house  at  Thun.  But,  alas  !  we 
are  still  far  removed  from  planning  anything  definite. 
For  the  present  we  have  to  wait  patiently  for  this  big 
wound  to  heal  (so  far  we  have  reason  to  hope  for  the 

*  Meaning  Herzogenberg's  pupils. 

22 — 2 


340  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

best) ;  then  comes  the  very  slow  process  of  coaxing 
the  stiff  leg  to  walk,  which  will  be  a  matter  of  weeks ; 
after  which  we  shall  find  some  hot  springs  to  strengthen 
the  system  and  do  battle  with  the  *  residue '  in  the  left 
arm  and  back  of  the  neck — in  short,  drive  out  the 
seven  devils  for  good.  Not  till  then  can  we  think  of 
a  thorough  rest.  We  hope  the  doctors  may  advise 
Switzerland,  on  account  of  you  and  my  sister  and  the 
Wachs,*  but  it  is  still  all  so  uncertain,  and  we  are 
entirely  in  the  doctors'  hands.  So  take  possession 
of  your  own  beautiful  house  without  considering  us 
further,  dear  Friend.  Thank  you  for  the  very  kind 
thought.  Think  of  us  still,  but  do  not  count  on  these 
miserable  friends  of  yours  for  anything. 

These  have  been  dark  days  for  me.  The  energy 
one  summons  up  to  meet  the  occasion  leaves  a  feeling 
of  exaltation  to  balance  one's  shattered  condition — 
then  comes  the  reaction.  The  solemn  exaltation,  which 
attends  any  great  trouble,  wears  off,  and  the  wearisome 
daily  round  sets  in.  Heinrich's  excellent  constitution 
is  my  greatest  comfort  through  all  this  misery.  He 
pulled  through  amazingly  after  the  operation — free 
from  fever  the  third  day ! — and  is  quite  normal  in 
his  appetite  and  everything ;  but  what  a  mountain  of 
patience  we  need  to  meet  all  there  is  to  come !  Think 
of  the  misery  of  having  no  rest  for  another  nine  or  ten 
weeks  at  least  after  being  in  bed  so  long,  the  frightful 
pain  of  sitting  down,  caused  by  the  continual  pressure, 
and  the  soreness  of  the  heel  resulting  from  his  present 
position  and  the  operation.  We  are,  to  make  it  worse, 
left  quite  to  ourselves.  The  Fiedlers  and  Levi  are 
away,  and  our  friend  Allgeyer  has  no  use  for  any  but 
healthy — and  wealthy ! — people. 

*  Professor  Adolf  Wach  had  gone  to  live  near  Interiaken. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  RECOVERY  341 

On  April  4  our  doctor  forsakes  us  too,  so  poor 
Heinrich  will  be  quite  dependent  on  his  Fidelio,  who 
has  frequently  to  jog  her  own  elbow  to  keep  up  to  the 
mark. 

So  you  see  we  are  not  exactly  gay  here. 

Why  don't  you  write  something  nice  for  the  dear 
old  Kaiser,  so  that  there  may  be  some  music  worthy 
to  honour  his  memory!  Poor  Heinz  was  to  have 
written  the  music  for  the  academic  celebrations  on 
the  22nd,  had  the  Kaiser  lived;  of  course  he  gave  it 
up  regretfully  months  ago,  and  now  it  would  have 
been  useless.  But  how  many  things  an  invalid  does 
have  to  give  up  ! 

Please  tell  me  at  your  convenience — first,  whether 
you  know  Wilhelm  Hertz's  Spielmmmslieder  and 
Tristan^  (written  in  delightfully  pure,  healthy  German 
that  does  one's  heart  good) ;  and,  second,  Stauffer- 
Bern'sf  etchings. 

What  precious  moments  of  enjoyment  one  may  have 
in  spite  of  everything !  We  had  saved  up  Martin 
SalanderX  to  read  until  it  came  out  separately,  and 
how  we  revelled  in  it !  The  power  of  the  book  reveals 
itself  in  the  ever-increasing  sweetness  and  mellow- 
ness which  mark  its  progress  to  the  end.  Where 
should  we  be  now  but  for  these  bright  spots  in  our 
lives  ? 

*  Wilhelm  Hertz  (1835- 1902),  Professor  of  Literature  at  the  Munich 
Polytechnic,  was  a  member  of  the  Munich  '  Crocodile,'  a  group  of 
poets  headed  by  Geibel,  Heyse,  and  Lingg.  His  Spiehnannsbuch, 
Marie  de  France,  and  Tristan  und  Isolde,  were  free  adaptations  in 
verse  of  old  romantic  and  German  originals. 

t  Karl  Stauffer-Bern  (1857-1891),  painter,  poet,  and  etcher  (see 
Otto  Brahms's  Karl  Stauffer-Bern  :  Sein  Lebcn,  Seine  Briefe,  Seine 
Gedichte'). 

I  Novel  by  Gottfried  Keller,  which  had  been  coming  out  in  the 
Deutsche  Rundschau. 


342  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Please  find  something  new  to  send  us.  I  am  at 
last  returning  the  songs  (to-day),*  for  which  many 
thanks. 

Let  me  know  soon  what  Professor  Gomperz  decides, 
as  I  must  look  round  for  other  tenants  if  he  scorns  the 
little  house. 

Sincerely,  as  ever,  and  with  every  kindest  message 
from  my  dear,  good  patient,  yours, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 

The  colouring  of  ^  Horch^  der  Wind  klagt^  (the 
G  minor  song)t  is  very  orginal  and  charming.  I 
should  love  to  chatter  my  fill  about  your  lovely  music, 
but  in  this,  as  in  so  many  other  matters,  I  am  not  my 
own  mistress.  I  have  not  time  enough  for  the  neces- 
sary things.  But  send  us  something  nice  again  soon, 
won't  you  ? 


223.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  22,  1888.] 

I  am  sorry  to  say  the  Gomperzes  are  not  considering 
it,  but  anyway  you  cannot  be  waiting  to  offer  it  to 
other  people !  I  assure  you  I  am  always  telling  people 
about  the  little  house,  and  I  had  hoped  the  Meiningens 
would  take  it  for  the  greater  comfort  of  the  ladies  of 
their  Court.  I  wish  I  had  anything  nice  to  amuse  you 
with,  either  my  own  or  anyone  else's ;  but  wherever 
my  glance  strays  I  see  waste  and  desolation.  A  thou- 
sand good  wishes  for  May  Day  and  the  whole  summer. 

— Sincerely  yours, 

J.  Br. 
*  Zigeunerlieder.  t  No.  8. 


SIXTH  ITALIAN  TOUR  343 

224.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Thun,  June  7,  1888.] 
Are  you  still  at  this  address,*  and  how  is  Heinz  ? 
Since  I  wrote  I  have  had  the  most  beautiful  time  in 
Italy,  on  both  coasts  and  in  Rome.f  If  I  had  not  such 
endless  letters  and  things  lying  before  me,  I  would 
tell  you  how  splendid  it  was.  I  want  so  much  to 
know  how  you  both  are.  Do  write — as  much  as  you 
can  spare  time  for  (address  Thun,  simply).  I  am 
installed  in  my  old  pretty  rooms,  which  always  seem 
to  me  to  be  made  for  you. — Ever  yours,  ^    p. 

225.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

Thun,  June  12,  1888. 

Had  I  known  sooner  of  your  plan  of  going  to  St.,t 
I  should  have  been  much  tempted  to  go  there  myself. 
As  it  is,  I  must  content  myself  with  urging  you  to 
carry  it  out,  which  I  can  do  the  more  happily  for 
knowing  how  many  old  friends  you  will  meet  there. 

I  can  tell  you  nothing  definite,  except  that  the 
concerto  §  will  probably  be  put  into  the  second  day. 
After  that  it  will  find  its  way  to  you  at  home.  It  has 
been  too  shy  to  go  before. 

*  The  card  is  addressed  to  Munich,  Hess  Strasse  30. 

t  Brahms  had  spent  the  month  of  May  in  Italy.  It  was  his  sixth 
visit  to  that  country.  He  met  a  friend,  Widmann,  at  Verona,  who 
was  able  to  act  as  guide  to  many  hitherto  unexplored  towns.  Brahms 
then  returned  with  him  to  Thun  for  the  summer.  Widmann's  Brahms- 
Erinnerungen  (pp.  144-158)  includes  a  charming  description  of  some 
incidents  of  their  travels  through  Bologna,  Rimini,  San  Marino, 
Ancona,  Loretto,  Rome  (Frascati,  Tivoli,  and  d'Anzio),  and  Florence. 

+  Stuttgart. 

§  The  double  concerto  (Op.  102)  was  performed  by  Joachim  and 
Hausmann  on  the  second  day  of  the  festival  Qune,  1888),  under 
Immanuel  Faisst's  direction. 


344  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Do  arrange  accordingly,  and  permit  yourselves  this 
recreation  and  change  at  Stuttgart. — Kindest  messages 
to  your  Heinz,  and  drop  a  line  later  on  to  yours, 

J.  Br. 

N.B. — I  have  been  av^^ay  for  a  few  days 


226.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  September,  1888.] 

Dear  Lady, — Your  letter  found  me  here  in  Vienna. 
It  v^as  at  Thun — and  you  at  Basel — while  I  was 
pottering  in  Berne  and  Zurich  on  the  way  home ! 
But  I  will  not  pursue  this  unprofitable  subject.  It  is 
all  too  annoying.  Your  card  means  a  long  farewell, 
and  letter-writing  is,  as  far  as  I  am  concerned,  a  poor 
consolation. 

But  I  must  have  your  address  in  any  case,  and — 
but  I  think  you  will  agree  with  me  that  it  is  never 
any  good  talking.  Only  let  me  know  how  things  are 
occasionally.  Everyone  who  knows  you  is  full  of 
interest  and  sympathy.  As  for  me,  I  rank  with  the 
keenest. 

If  I  should  be  sending  you  a  few  worthless  books 
of  songs,  you  may  leave  them  behind  when  you  go 
away.  It  will  perhaps  interest  you  to  know  that  I 
have  again  collided  with  Heinz — I  have  been  trying 
my  hand  at  Groth's  Herbst*  It  is  a  difficult  thing 
to  tackle — difficult  and  dull ! 

I  am  unpacking  and  confusion  reigns  ;  forgive  this 

untidy  sheet.     Do  please  send  word  to,  and  think  as 

kindly  as  you  can  of,  yours  very  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

*  Im  Herbst,  Op.  104,  No.  5. 


HERZOGEN BERG'S  RECOVERY  345 

227.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Lugano,  September  22,  1888. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Your  kind  words,  forwarded 
to  me  here,  where  we  are  making  a  halt,  have  made 
me  very  sad  and  reflective.  You  cannot  feel  as  vividly 
as  we  can  (or  perhaps  you  can  ?)  how  unreasonable  it 
is  that  we  should  spend  so  little  of  our  short  lives 
together.  Don't  think  me  presumptuous,  please,  if 
I  choose  seriously  to  think  you  cannot  have  many 
friends  who  have  a  much  greater  claim  to  see  a  good 
deal  of  you.  Certainly  no  one  is  better  able  to 
appreciate  you,  both  from  the  artistic  and  the  human 
sides,  and  yet,  when  at  the  end  we  come  to  add  up 
the  days  we  have  spent  together,  what  will  the  total 
be  ?  If  an  improvement  were  possible,  if  3^ou  were 
inclined  to  regret  it,  too,  sometimes,  ways  and  means 
might  be  found.  We  relied  on  your  writing  to  us 
before  going  home,  and  it  is  a  real  grief  to  find  we 
missed  you  at  Basel. 

Our  address  at  Nice  is  Boulevard  Carabacel  27. 

We  found  a  particularly  well-recommended  house 
there,  facing  south  and  properly  heated,  and  that  was 
mainly  what  brought  us  to  this  sudden  decision.  I 
hope  soon  (we  shall  be  there  the  day  after  to-morrow) 
to  receive  your  songs,  and  shall  then — if  I  may — 
chatter  to  you  a  little,  although  you  did  give  me  a 
plain  hint  to-day  that  it  was  *  never  any  good  talking.' 
If  only  you  were  not  quite  so  convinced  of  that!  If 
you  knew  how  one  learns  to  appreciate  real  worth, 
kindness,  and  affection,  in  such  hard  times  as  we  have 
been  through,  you  would  not  be  so  chary  of  your 
words,  but  would  let  us  hear  your  written  voice  a  little 
oftener.     You   must   know  that  you   write  not   only 


346  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

easily,  but  well,  and  that  every  letter  you  send  us  is 
a  precious  gift.  The  fact  is,  we  love  you  very  much, 
dear  Friend  ;  and  that  being  so,  you  might  really  take 
your  share  of  the  inconvenience  ! 

You  will  send  the  songs  as  soon  as  possible,  then, 
and  I  may  hold  forth  at  will?  I  have  much  more 
time  now.  The  man  we  have  had  to  engage  proves — 
almost  to  my  sorrow — to  be  an  excellent  nurse,  and 
relieves  me  of  all  my  duties.  Heinz  is  slowly  learning 
to  use  crutches,  and  is,  as  usual,  trying  to  make  the 
best  of  things.  I  fear  I  sometimes  feel  like  crying 
for  the  moon.  I  am  of  the  earth  earthy,  and  can't 
help  longing  to  be  happy  and  light-hearted  again. 
This  craving  for  happiness  is  after  all  a  common 
instinct. 

You  go  to  Italy  every  year ;  could  you  not  come  to 
Nice  ?     How  happy  you  would  make  your  faithful 

Herzogenbergs  ! 

228.  Elisahet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Nice,  Boulevard  Carabacel  9, 
October,  1888.] 

Is  it  my  imagination,  or  am  I  right  in  thinking  my 
letter  to  you  from  Lugano  was  of  the  sort  that  a  nice 
person  would  answer — unless,  indeed,  he  wished  the 
poor  writer  to  think  she  had  gone  too  far,  been  guilty 
of  presumption,  and  reckoned  without  her  host  ? 

You  might  have  found  time  to  send  me  a  line,  dear 
Friend.  I  shall  soon  begin  to  think  all  sorts  of  things ! 
I  do  so  want  to  be  assured  that  you  still  like  us, 
and  mean  well  by  us.  And  where  are  the  songs 
which  I  am  so  looking  forward  to  trying  over  on  my 
Erard  ? 


HERZOGEN BERG'S  RECOVERY  347 

You  will  send  a  kind  message  and  a  beautiful  song 

and  a  clasp  of  the  hand,  won't  you  ?  to  yours  always 

sincerely, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


229.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  October,  1888.] 

Dear,  dear  Lady, — Every  letter  of  yours  is  of  the 
sort  that — one  is  overjoyed  to  receive,  and  would 
certainly  like  to  answer  as  it  deserves.  But  did  I 
really  not  label  my  note  'preliminary'?  Then  I  will 
do  so  now ;  and  let  me  insist  that,  whatever  I  do,  no 
one  has  the  right  to  take  offence,  little  as  I  deserve 
such  kind  consideration. 

Again,  one  might  go  on  feeling  injured  for  ever,  so 
much  better  not  begin. 

But  you  ought  to  know  and  believe  that  you  are  one 
of  the  few  people  one  likes  more — as  your  husband  is 
sure  to  see  this — than  one  dare  say.  But,  then,  he  is 
also  one  of  the  said  few ! 

And,  by  the  way,  Karl  Spitteler*  was  complaining 
in  the  summer  that  you  had  not  replied  to  some  parcel 
or  letter  of  his,  and  that  he  did  not  care  to  write  again 
in  consequence !  Let  him  send  you  his  article  on 
Schubert's  sonatas,!  which  is  not  at  all  stupid. 

Your  good  intention  of  writing  me  at  length  on  the 
receipt  of  my  next  parcel  will  probably  be  frustrated 
by  the  nature  of  the  latter.     How  I  should  like  to  be 

*  Karl  Spitteler  (b.  1845),  a  Swiss  poet,  writing  under  the  pseudonym 
'  Felix  Tandem,'  had  published  several  poems,  and  (since  1866)  edited 
the  Schweizerische  Grenzpost  at  Basel.  He  made  the  acquaintance  of 
Brahms  through  their  mutual  friend  Widmann. 

t  The  essay  appeared  in  the  Grenzpost,  and  was  included  later  in 
Spitteler's  book  Lachende  Wahrheiten. 


348  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

thanking  you  for  a  lengthy  epistle  !  But  you  will  not 
even  find  anything  to  scold  me  about. 

I  don't  know  Nice  and  your  part  of  the  Riviera  at 
all,  but  only  the  other  side.  Nice  does  not  count  as 
Italy,  or  come  into  an  Italian  tour,  though,  and  to  me 
its  extreme  fashionableness  would  make  it  impossible. 

But  I  may  think  of  your  stay  there  as  the  pleasantest 
and  most  cheerful  you  have  had  anywhere  for  a  long 
time. 

Make  some  real  nice  plans  for  the  summer,  choosing 
some  beautiful  Austrian  place,  if  possible.  In  which 
case  I  hope  to  be  there. — Yours  most  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

230.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Nice]  October  13,  1888. 

There  was  a  nice  kind  letter  again !  It  made  me 
so  happy.  Thank  you  more  than  I  can  say  for  every 
kind  word.  You  don't  realize  how  important  it  is  not 
to  avoid  the  obvious  too  scrupulously.  Life  would  be 
greatly  impoverished  if  everyone  practised  this  saving 
plan,  already  adopted  by  so  many !  You  do  not  hesi- 
tate to  use  the  same  beloved  formulas  again  and  again 
in  your  art,  yet  in  human  intercourse  such  a  craze  for 
brevity  prevails  that  it  requires  something  like  courage 
to  be  as  persistently  loquacious  as  I  am.  Therefore 
I  must  thank  you  again  for  your  eloquent  letter  and 
for  counting  us  among  'the  few.'  Believe  me,  your 
confidence  is  not  misplaced. 

Karl  Spitteler  is  no  friend  of  mine.  How  can  you 
bring  him  into  the  comparison  ?  I  am  nothing  to  him  ! 
I  admit,  though,  there  is  the  more  need  for  politeness 
on  that  account.     But  in  such  dark  days  as  those  at 


AMANDA  RONTGEN  349 

Wittelsbach  one  gives  no  thought  to  superficialities, 
but  reserves  any  leisure  and  spirit  one  has  for  real 
friends.  To  set  matters  right,  I  did  look  him  up  at 
Basel,  but  he  was  out.  When  he  returned  my  call, 
I  was  again  quite  at  a  loss  to  place  him.  I  have  rarely 
seen  such  a  chameleon.  He  appears  to  have  abso- 
lutely no  refinement  of  speech,  and  yet  there  is  some- 
thing in  his  writing  which  betrays  a  highly  cultivated 
mind. 

Your  delightful  big  parcel  of  music  came  to-day, 
and  will  soon  produce  a  letter  in  which  I  shall  say 
anything  that  comes  first,  just  as  I  feel  it.  How 
splendid  to  have  all  this  pile  to  look  through  and 
appropriate  to  oneself!  I  value  the  Zigeunerlieder 
twice  as  much  for  having  seen  them  in  undress  first. 
If  you  would  but  give  me  that  pleasure  oftener! 

Amanda  Rontgen*  is  one  of  our  household  here; 
that  is,  she  has  the  rooms  above  ours,  and  will  join 
with  us  in  the  new  Brahms  orgy.  The  poor  little 
woman  is  hoping  to  cure  her  affected  lung  here,  and 
later  at  Ospedaletti.  Our  dear  Dr.  Schmid,t  who 
attended  us  at  Munich,  is  here  just  now,  and  has 
examined  her.  Unfortunately,  he  was  only  able  to 
confirm  the  unfavourable  report  of  her  other  doctors. 
Poor  things !  it  is  terribly  sad  to  see  this  cloud  on 
their  young  happiness.  She  is  so  forlorn  with  it  all, 
so  helplessly  ignorant  of  all  the  practical  side  of  life, 
a  lily  of  the  field,  set  all  at  once  to  sow  and  reap.  I 
am  glad  I  was  permitted  to  take  her  under  my  wing 
here ;  it  made  the  beginning  less  hard  for  her.  Really, 
I  am  so  amazingly  robust  myself  that  I  can  risk  any 
worry,  any  exertion,  now. 

*  Wife  of  Julius  Rontgen.     Her  illness  proved  incurable, 
t  Hofrat  Dr.  Adolf  Schmid. 


350  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Nice  fashionable  ?  So  much  so  that  I  go  marketing 
every  morning  with  an  empty  basket,  as  my  cook  has 
not  time,  and  return  with  an  armful  of  glorious  vege- 
tables and  fruit,  from  under  which,  as  often  as  not, 
a  sturdy  chicken  leg  peeps  out.  So  fashionable  is 
Nice !  and  so  well  am  I  in  this  steely  and  yet  mild  air, 
that  I  am  equal  to  that  and  much  more ;  whereas  before 
I  could  not  carry  a  pound's  weight  without  gasping. 
I  will  not  expatiate  on  the  beauty  of  the  neighbour- 
hood, as  I  am  bad  at  descriptions,  but  will  only  say 
I  never  saw  anything  to  equal  it.  It  might  be  stage 
scenery  for  Gluck's  operas !  But  the  figures  for  such 
a  landscape  should  be  of  noble  build,  draped  in  flowing 
garments,  or  lovely  naked  Cupids,  Bacchus  trains — 
anything  to  heighten  the  natural  picturesqueness — not 
the  feeble,  oppressed  race  one  actually  sees  here.  It 
seems  the  real  population,  the  influx  of  visitors,  has 
not  yet  arrived.  We  never  see  anyone  when  we  go 
through  the  town,  but  one  is  conscious  of  all  the 
lurking  ugliness  and  deformity,  which  would  be  de- 
pressing enough  if  one  thought  about  it.  But  the 
dazzling,  indestructible  beauty  of  the  place  is  far  too 
absorbing,  and  at  present  we  are  constantly  agape 
with  delight.  Indeed,  we  should  be  almost  happy  but 
that  poor  Heinrich  is  half  a  cripple,  dear  Friend ;  and 
if  his  condition  remains  unchanged  we  shall  hardly 
have  reason  to  be  gay.  But  Dr.  Schmid,  my  consoler, 
hopes  for  certain  that  much  more  may  be  done  by 
mild,  or  possibly  vigorous,  treatment.  The  deforma- 
tions in  the  neck  and  the  left  arm  will  have  to  be 
fractured,  but  I  shall  soon  hear  more  definitely  from 
Schmid. 

Believe  me,  it  is  difficult  to  bear  up.     I  could  tell 
you  of  nights  spent  in  misery;   but  I  want  to  keep 


THIRD  VIOLIN  SONATA  351 

the  bright  side  uppermost  as  far  as  possible  when  I 
tell  you  of  ourselves. 

Good-bye  for  to-day,  and  auf  Wiedersehen  this  even- 
ing at  the  piano,  when  I  dive  into  your  dear  music. 

Think  of  me  occasionally. — Your  devoted 

LisL  Herzogenberg. 
Please  tell  me  our  good  Frau  Franz's  address. 


231.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  October  21,  1888.] 

Frau  Franz  lives  at  No.  8,  Elisabetstrasse.  Many 
thanks  for  your  kind  letter.  I  am  tempted  to  send 
you  another  trifle  *in  undress.'  But  are  you  sure  you 
don't  mind  packing  it  up  and  returning  it?  And 
really,  this  time,  it  is  not  worth  the  trouble.  So 
Frau  Rontgen  is  with  you !  Please  remember  me 
very  kindly  to  her.  Useless  to  enclose  a  violin  part 
for  her,  I  suppose  ?*  Fate  might  have  dealt  more 
kindly  with  that  poor  little  couple.  They  cannot, 
like  Frau  Schumann,  look  back  triumphantly  on  a 
long  life  and  some  very  hard  blows.  I  am  afraid  he 
will  not  get  on  any  better  in  Amsterdam  this  winter. 
Billroth  tried  to  find  you  at  Munich ;  he  wanted  to 
view  the  landscape  of  leg  and  arm. 

Forgive  me,  and  accept  kindest  remembrances  from 

yours, 

J.Br. 

*  He  sent  both  the  violin  part  and  the  piano  score  of  the  violin 
sonata  in  D  minor  (Op.  io8).  It  had  been  completed  at  Thun  in  1886, 
but  Brahms  chose  to  hold  it  back.  It  was  published  in  1889,  with  a 
dedication  to  Biilow. 


352  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

232.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms, 

Nice,  October  28,  i{ 
My  dear  Friend, — If  I  sit  down  to-day  to  talk  about 
your  last  parcel  of  music,  it  is  in  the  confidence  that 
the  person  for  whom  you  professed  a  liking  in  your 
last  charming  letter  may  allow  herself  some  liberties, 
and  that  you  will  prefer  even  the  most  misguided  of 
her  remarks  to  pretty  speeches.  I  am  so  fond  of  you 
and  your  music  that  1  am  incapable  of  humbugging 
you ;  consequently  I  am  reduced  to  blurting  out  all 
I  have  on  my  mind.  You  see,  I  have  no  greater 
pleasure  than  the  enjoyment  of  your  music,  and  when 
I  cannot  enjoy  it  I  feel  as  if  I  had  been  done  out  of 
something.  You  cannot  take  it  as  presumption  if  I 
am  quite  open  about  it,  and  you  must  please  believe 
that  any  other  course  is  impossible  to  me,  if  only  for 
my  own  sake.  I  should  not  dare  to  dwell  on  the 
things  which  arouse  my  enthusiasm  among  the 
selection,*  were  I  to  be  silent  as  to  those  which  fail 
to  touch  me.  I  have  played  them  all  many  times,  and 
each  time  the  impression  grew  in  intensity.  I  will  set 
it  down  just  as  it  came  to  me. 

In  Op.  104  we  both  fixed  on  the  second  Nachtwacke,\ 
at  the  first  glance,  as  a  pearl  among  the  part-songs, 
and  it  found  its  way  right  into  our  hearts  on  hearing 
it.  It  is  inspired  from  first  to  last,  warm  with  the 
glow  of  sunset  and  the  ring  of  bugles ;  the  entry  of 
every  fresh  voice  is  a  delight  in  itself,  and  its  soft 
fulness,  combined  with  its  austerity,  makes  it  a  perfect 
jewel.     Our  next  immediate  favourite  is  Im  Herbst;\ 

*  Songs,  Op.  104-107,  published  in  1889. 

t  Funf  Gesdnge  fur  gemischten  Chor^  a  capella,  Op.  104,  No.  2. 

X  Op.  104,  No.  5. 


SONGS  353 

with  its  thrilling  third  verse.  How  beautifully  you 
treat  ^  er  ahnt,'  how  satisfying  is  its  progress,  and  how 
daring  from  the  point  of  view  of  harmony !  Then 
the  whole  piece  is  so  concentrated,  the  tone  so  well 
sustained.  On  the  other  hand,  the  little  string  quartet 
in  D  minor*  quite  eludes  me.  It  fails  to  charm  from 
any  point  of  view,  and  the  seventh  bar  on  the  first 
page  (or  the  third,  on  the  last  but  one)  positively 
hurts  me ;  the  E  flat,  which  the  two  outer  parts  reach 
simultaneously,  strikes  me  as  cruel,  although  I  can 
imagine  you  intended  a  comma  between  the  second 
and  third  crotchets,  and  considered  the  E  flat  merely 
in  its  relation  to  the  next  bar.  But  an  ordinary  mortal 
(not  Bulow-Riemannt-Westphalt  trained)  gets  a  shock 
from  which  he  takes  time  to  recover.  The  first  Nacht- 
wache^  would  have  more  chance  if  she  had  not  so 
dangerous  a  rival  in  the  second,  which  promptly 
spoils  one  for  anything  less  perfect.  And  here  is 
another  case  where  the  critic  within  pricks  up  his 
ears,  and  asks  whether  these  delicate  but  rather 
pianistic  than  chorally  inspired  entries  will  ever 
sound  perfectly  in  tune  and  natural.  Now,  in  the 
other,  one  has  never  a  moment  for  criticizing;  the 
feeling  of  pure  enjoyment  in  the  possession  of  such 
beauty  and  originality  is  too  strong.  *  This  is  the 
Brahms   I   like ;   I   can   surrender  wholly  to  a  mind 

*  '  Verlorene  Jugend,'  Op.  104,  No.  4.  By  the  expression  '  string 
quartet,'  the  writer  conveys  her  disapproval  of  the  instrumental  rather 
than  vocal  treatment  of  the  voices. 

t  Hugo  Riemann  (b.  1849),  theorist  and  lexicographer,  well-known 
writer  on  music,  published  in  1884  his  Musikalische  Dynamik  nnd 
Agogik  (strongly  influenced  by  Westphal's  Theory  of  Rhythm  since 
Bach),  followed  by  Praktische  Einleitung  zum  Phrasicren  in  1886  and 
a  textbook  on  harmony  in  1887. 

X  Rudolf  Westphal  (1826-1892),  theorist  and  writer  on  music. 

§  Op.  104,  No.  I. 

23 


354 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


like  this.'*  But  this  same  Brahms  is  not  quite  him- 
self in  the  other  one,  or  else  I  am  lacking  in  the 
particular  sense  needed  to  take  it  in.  ' Letztes  Gliick'^ 
is  another  that  gives  me  little  satisfaction,  although  I 
think  I  am  able  to  appreciate  every  finely  worked  out 
detail :  the  tenor  catching  up  the  theme  from  the 
soprano,  the  sighing  quaver-rests,  and  the  charming, 
subdued  tone  of  the  whole.  But  if  you  will  spoil  us 
so  dreadfully  with  your  very  best,  how  can  we  do 
justice  to  anything  falhng  short  of  that  perfection! 
And  why  don't  you  indulge  in  a  hideous  harmony, 
like  this  one  at  the  end, 


oftener,  so  that  our  ears  might  grow  accustomed  to  it ! 
You  have  trained  us  to  think  a  simple  chord  of  the 
7th,  with  a  single,  not  double,  suspension  on  the  G, 
more  melodious  and  satisfying  in  a  case  like  this. 
Can  you  blame  us  for  applying  the  same  standard  to 
every  new  work  of  yours,  particularly  when,  as  in 
the  Nachtwache,  you  give  us  a  fresh  glimpse  into  the 
highest  spheres. 

It  is  the  same  with  the  other  songs.     Now  tell  me, 
is  it  really  all  our  fault  if  the  Kirchho/song^  provokes 

*  A  paraphrase  from  Faust's  last  monologue  (II.). 

t  Op.  104,  No.  3.  I  P.  17  of  the  above,  bar  10. 

§  Op.  105,  No.  4. 


SONGS  355 

a  burst  of  enthusiasm  while  the  rest  receive  but  a  chilly 
welcome  ?  Believe  me,  dear,  dear  Friend,  your  truest 
friends  are  not  those  who  greet  every  new  volume  of 
your  music  impartially,  with  rapture,  before  even  scan- 
ning the  contents.  I  know  some  of  these  indiscrim- 
inating  Brahmsianer  who  go  into  ecstasies  at  the  very 
sight  of  your  name  on  the  cover;  they  must  have  some 
fetish  to  worship,  poor  things  I  even  though  they  have 
no  intimate  connection  with  it  and  are  often  without 
a  glimmering  of  its  real  significance.  Now  I  know 
that  your  music  is  a  real  force  which  has  found  in  me 
'an  abiding  city,'  and  just  because  of  this  inviolable 
possession,  just  because  I  look  up  to  you  with  such 
intense  gratitude,  I  find  the  courage  to  tell  you  when 
I  am  unable  to  follow,  when  your  music  awakens  no 
response.  And  just  because  I  am  so  strongly  predis- 
posed to  enthusiasm,  so  hotly  prejudiced,  I  might  say, 
in  favour  of  this  same  Brahms,  I  often  ask  myself — 
softly,  discreetly,  but  I  do  ask — whether  he  does  not 
sometimes  produce  things  born,  not  of  his  heart's 
blood,  but  only — as  I  ventured  to  say  once  before — 
of  his  cleverness,  his  routine,  his  supreme  skill ;  while 
the  impulse  which  stamps  the  thing  produced  as  in- 
evitable, enduring  for  all  time,  is  entirely  lacking. 

Believe  me,  I  do  not  write  without  deep  emotion, 
without  the  fullest  consciousness  of  the  liberty  your 
great  kindness  and  friendship  so  graciously  extends 
to  me ;  believe,  too,  that  I  never  respect  you  more 
sincerely  than  when  I  say  these  impossible  things  I 
But  to  return  to  the  Kirchhof,  I  must  say  some  more 
about  the  glorious  thing,  with  its  distinctive  colouring, 
its  perfect  co-operation  of  words  and  music.  The 
harp-like  pathos  of  the  very  opening  bars  gives  the 
key  to  its  character.    The  declamation  of  the  first  verse 

23—2 


356  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

is  perfect,  and  how  touching  is  the  phrase  '  uberwach- 
senen  Namen^  how  intensified  the  accent  at  ^ gewesen^^ 
where  the  modulation  is  as  surprising  as  it  is  legiti- 
mate !  Then  comes  the  delicious  lull  where  it  falls 
into  C  major*  with  those  even  crotchets;  that  pause 
on  ^  schliimmerfen\'  that  exquisite  lift  at  *5////,'  the 
exquisite  line  of  the  whole  melody — all  this  is  so 
powerful,  so  original,  and  so  mature,  such  real  music 
of  so  superior  an  order,  that  one  would  be  content  to 
hear  nothing  else  for  a  long  time.  But  to  turn  the 
page  and  be  confronted  with  that  Mannsbild,]  that 
skulking  figure  of  a  man,  is  to  be  brought  back  to 
earth  with  a  thump.  Oh,  how  could  you  think  this 
poem  worthy  of  being  composed  by  you !  I  cannot 
understand.  An  unattractive,  dry,  cheaply  popular 
ditty  with  its  barren  heath — barren  enough  it  seems 
to  me !  Are  all  the  good  poems  really  so  used  up  that 
you  must  fall  back  on  such  skim-milk  or  on  Lemcke's 
'  cold  devils  '?J  How  glad  I  am  to  think  that  I  always 
detested  Lemcke ;  I  now  know  why.  Heyse's  little 
Mddchenlied\  is  Goethe  by  comparison,  and  one  can 
breathe  sweet,  pure  air  again.  What  sweet  music  you 
have  woven  about  it,  too !  It  is  all  so  fine  and  dainty, 
so  exceedingly  attractive  to  the  musician,  with  its  tonic 
turning  into  a  dominant  in  the  last  bar  of  the  melody. 
Its  plaintive  yearning  is  so  pleasing,  and  our  ears  are 
flattered  by  a  newness  which  has  yet  nothing  strange. 
The  one  in  E  flat||  immediately  before  it  is  sure  to  be 

*  P.  15,  bar  9.  The  writer  does  not  appear  to  be  aware  that  this 
is  taken  from  the  chorale  '  0  Haupt  voll  Blut  und  Wunden.' 

t  Verrafh,  Op.  105,  No.  5,  '  Mein  Schatz  Hess  sacht  ein  Mannsbild 
'raus.' 

I  Salamander,  Op.  107,  No.  2.  Words  of  both  songs  are  by 
Karl  Lemcke. 

§  Op.  107,  No.  5.  {|  Maienkatzchen,  Op.  107,  No.  4. 


SONGS  357 

popular,  as  such  contrasts  always  are ;  similarly  the 
Swallow  song,*  the  words  of  which  are  again  spoilt 
for  me  by  that  ^  alter  Mann.''  It  makes  a  pretty  enough 
piano  piece,  however.  The  '  proud  '  onef  gives  me  the 
unshakeable  impression  that  old  Flemming  conceived 
of  her  as  quite  a  different  person.  I  can't  reconcile 
words  and  music. 

Meine  LiederX  is  quite  my  favourite  in  Op.  io6. 
Who  could  resist  an^^thing  so  dainty,  its  fine  gold 
tracery  and  the  added  fervour  which  those  sustained 
bass  notes  give  to  the  closing  sentences — an  effect 
which  never  fails  with  me !  I  do  so  enjoy  anything 
like  that.  The  lVanderer^\  again,  is  one  of  those  I 
am  too  cold-blooded  to  accept  entirely,  in  spite  of  the 
beautiful  modulation  on  the  second  page.  I  can't  help 
complaining  that  I  have  heard  some  Brahms  like  it 
before,  though  more  vigorously  and  convincingly  ex- 
pressed— when  to  please  me  he  ought  to  surpass 
himself  each  time.  I  am  as  ambitious  as  Macbeth 
for  those  I  love,  you  see.  Amanda  Rontgen  and  I 
play  Auf  dem  See\  together;  it  sounds  charming  on 
the  fiddle — better  then  sung,  I  almost  think.  That  must 
be  a  slip  on  the  last  page,  where  there  is  a  D  sharp 
in  the  second  bar  ?  Surely  it  should  be  D  natural  1\ 
Rocky  as  this  particular  part  is,  I  expect  everybody 
will  play  D  sharp,  and  few  will  rejoice  in  it.  For  my 
part,  I  should  picture  a  '  floating  Eden '  less  bristling 
and  without  this  array  of  obstacles  in  the  harmony. 

*  Das  Mddchen  spricht,  Op.  107,  No.  3  ('  Schwalbe,  sag"  miran,  ist's 
dein  alter  Mann  f). 
f  An  die  Stolze,  Op.  107,  No.  i.     Words  by  Paul  Flemming. 

I  Op.  106,  No.  4.  §  Op.  106,  No.  5. 

II  Op.  106,  No.  2. 

^  P.  10,  bar  2.     Brahms  subsequently  inserted  a  natural  before  the 
D  in  his  own  copy. 


358  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

What  shall  I  say  about  Stdndchen?*  As  I  glance 
over  it,  I  see  it  stamped  with  the  charm  and  originality 
which  you  are  always  able  to  impart  with  a  turn  of 
the  hand ;  and  yet  it  seems  more  of  a  Brahms  manu- 
facture than  a  Brahms  inspiration.  I  cannot  warm 
to  it — as  I  am  obliged  to  confess,  now  that  I  am  on 
the  stool  of  repentance.  In  Klaus  Groth's  ^  Es  king 
der  Reif\  I  find  the  \  rhythm  disturbing ;  heard  in 
conjunction  with  the  never-failing  minim,  it  gives  an 
effect  of  indolence  and  immense  difficulty.  Try  sing- 
ing it  yourself,  very  legato^  and  you  will  see  what  I 
mean. 

There  still  remains  to  say  that  I  like  No.  3  in 
Op.  io5t  very  much.  The  two  first  are,  of  course, 
old  favourites — not  that  I  shall  ever  be  reconciled 
to  that  succession  of  chords  of  the  \  in  the  C  sharp 
minor  !§ 

The  more  I  play  the  Zigeunerlieder^  the  more  I  love 
them.  You  were  quite  right  in  thinking  I  should  not 
be  able  to  put  enough  fire  into  them  in  the  sick-room 
to  enjoy  them  thoroughly.  They  are  so  gloriously 
alive — rushing,  throbbing,  stamping  along,  then  settling 
down  to  a  smooth,  gentle  flow.  We  cannot  try  them 
properly  in  this  beautiful  uncivilized  spot,  and  it  is 
a  sore  deprivation.  Yet  I  have  a  vivid  idea  of  how 
they  all  sound  ;  the  two  first  numbers  aglow  with 
life,  the  charming  humour  of  No.  6,  the  adorable 
melancholy  fervour  of  the  next  one  in  E  flat — I  am 
always  moved  to  tears  in  the  second  part,  then  the 
whispering  G  minor  with  its  strange  colouring  I  How 
opportunely  the  solo  voice  separates  itself  from  the 

*  Der  Mond  steht  iiber  dent  Berge,  Op.  106,  No.  i, 
+  Op.  106,  No.  3.  X  Klage. 

§  Immer  leiser  wird  mein  Schlummer. 


SONGS  359 

rest,  and  how  refreshing  is  the  re-entry!  How 
delightful  it  would  be  to  arrange  a  really  good  per- 
formance of  this  fine  work  by  a  few  music-lovers ! 
I  look  forward  to  next  winter  for  this  sort  of  enjoy- 
ment. 

Dearest  Friend,  I  know  I  ought  to  stop,  but  let  me 
sum  it  all  up  once  more :  I  love  and  admire  your 
music  more  than  ever,  but  my  very  admiration  leads 
me  to  ask  why  one  who  has  coined  and  still  can  coin 
such  gold  [Nachtwache^  Kirchhoflied^  etc.)  should  be 
so  sparing  with  it,  and  why  we  should  be  put  off 
with  silver — music  that  is  never  devoid  of  worth 
and  charm,  considered  on  its  own  merits,  but  un- 
satisfying in  that  it  comes  from  the  magician  who 
has  accustomed  us  to  the  very  best. 

One  thing  more.  If  my  letter  angers  you,  fling  it 
into  the  darkest,  dustiest  corner  of  your  room,  but 
not  the  writer  along  with  it!  Or  if  you  should  do 
so  on  the  impulse  of  the  moment,  fish  her  out  again 
after  a  time,  and  tell  her  that  you  have  not  quite 
lost  patience  with  her,  and  are  not  going  to  with- 
draw your  friendship — have  even,  perhaps,  no  desire 
to  do  so. 

Yesterday  I  bought  a  Reclam  edition  of  Platen,* 
and  rejoiced  in  the  two  or  three  glorious  poems  in 
the  collection.  I  took  *  Wie  rafff  ich  mich  auf  to  the 
piano,  and  there  I  recalled  your  exquisite  songf  note 
for  note,  to  my  joy  and  happiness.  I  have,  of  course, 
practically  no  music  here,  and  can  have  none  sent, 
as  it  is  all  stored  away  in  the  attics  in  Berlin.  Under 
these  conditions  I  make  bold  to  ask  if  there  is  any- 
thing you  do  not  want — songs,  or  the  G  major  sonata 

*  Graf  August  Platen  (1796-1835),  poet, 
t  Brahms,  Op.  32,  No,  i, 


36o  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

or  anything  whatsoever — which  you  could  pack  up  and 

send  to  Nice,  thereby  making  us  very  happy?     Some 

things    I    cannot    remember,   and    I   rack   my   brains 

distractedly.     Nothing  is  to  be  had  here  except  the 

Hungarian  Dances — and  any  amount  of  French  trash. 

Bizet  excepted,   it   is   all  so  impossible  to  us ;  even 

the  more  modern  Delibes*  is  dreadful.     Thank  God 

one  belongs  to  Germany  and  is  your  countrywoman ! 

— Your  most  faithful  and  devoted 

L.  H. 


233.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Nice,  Ociober,  30,  i\ 

My  dear  Friend, — This  30th  of  October  will  long 
be  green  in  my  memory.  I  cannot  tell  you  how  I  felt 
when  the  dear,  fat  roll  of  music  t  was  brought  in  this 
morning.  We  were  still  at  breakfast,  and  my  heart 
beat  fast  as  I  cautiously  extracted  the  kernel  from 
its  shell.  Heinrich  wanted  to  tear  the  manuscript 
from  me ;  but  I  held  it  tight,  and  ran  straight  up  to 
Amanda's  room,  where — more  or  less  jnal  coiffees^  but 
full  of  joyous  expectancy — we  sat  down  to  play  it 
at  once. 

We  got  into  the  spirit  of  it  immediately,  feeling  your 
spell  upon  us.  Our  eyes  flew  from  bar  to  bar,  our 
zeal  and  delight  grew  from  page  to  page,  our  fingers 
tackled  every  difficulty  with  such  success  that  I  hardly 
knew  myself.  We  grasped  each  successive  beauty, 
feeling  quite  at  home  in  spite  of  the  startling  sense 
of  novelty  which  a  first  movement  invariably  produces. 

*  Leo    Delibes   (1836-1891),   composer   of    opera  {Lc  roi  I'a  dit, 
Lakme,  etc.)  and  ballet  {Coppelia,  Sylvia). 
t  The  manuscript  of  the  violin  sonata  in  D  minor,  Op.  108. 


THIRD  VIOLIN  SONATA  361 

At  the  opening  of  the  development*  we  quite  caught 
our  breath.  How  new  it  is,  with  that  exquisite  pedal- 
note  absorbing  everything !  How  our  surprise  and 
delight  grew  and  grew  as  the  A  showed  no  sign  of 
giving  way,  but  held  its  own  through  all  the  glorious 
tissue  woven  above  it !  How  my  left  thumb  revelled 
in  the  pressure  it  had  to  exert !  And  that  F  sharp 
minor  on  that  Proteus  A,t  and  the  gradual  ebbing 
until  the  theme's  subdued  return — molto  legato.  O 
my  friend,  that  was  indeed  one  of  your  moments! 
Not  that  you  ought  to  take  all  the  credit,  for  it 
was  borne  in  to  you  on  that  tide  *  das  flutend  strbmt 
gesteigerte  Gestalten.'' %  How  happy,  how  happy  this 
piece  makes  me!  I  feel  so  glad,  too,  that  I  kept  back 
nothing  of  what  I  felt  the  other  day,  for  it  gives  me 
the  more  freedom  to  express  all  my  present  delight. 

It  is  still  too  new  to  write  quite  fully,  but  I  must 
dwell  on  one  or  two  points  ;  the  delicious  tranquillo  of 
the  coda,§  and  the  shorter  pedal -note||  at  the  end, 
emphasizing  the  structure  of  the  sonata -form  and 
welding  the  two  pedal-notes,  A  and  D,  into  one  golden 
ring.  And  how  one's  heart  goes  out  to  the  last  page ; 
to  those  sustained  notes  on  the  violin  which  combine 
with  the  left-hand  minims  on  the  piano  in  such 
beautiful  contrary  movement!  How  it  vibrates  with 
emotion,  how  it  grows  in  intensity  at  the  ritennfo, 
reaching  its  climax  where  the  pedal-note  ends  and  the 
violin  becomes  chromatic  !  When  we  had  reached  that 
point  we  exchanged  comprehensive  looks,  we  three, 
and  our  looks  would  have  told  you  much  that  you 
would  like  to  hear.     Would  that  I  had  you  here  and 

*  P.  6,  bar  13.  t  P.  7,  bar  19. 

X  Goethe.  §  P.  12,  bar  19. 

II  P.  12,  bar  19,  etc. 


362  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

could  press  your  hand  in  gratitude  for  this  great  gift, 
and  seat  you  at  the  piano  to  hear  you  play  it  through 
to  a  fine  rumbling  accompaniment  of  your  own  making ! 
What  delights  me  so  in  this  sonata  is  its  wonderful 
unity.  The  four  movements  are  so  unmistakably 
members  of  one  family.  One  purpose  dominates 
them,  one  colour  scheme  embraces  them  all ;  yet 
their  vitality  finds  expression  in  such  various  ways. 

I  rejoiced  to  find  the  Adagio  undisturbed  by  any 
middle  part,  for,  as  I  have  often  admitted,  however 
nice  the  middle  parts  are,  I  never  can  enthuse  over 
them.  That  kind  of  contrast  almost  always  strikes 
me  as  artificial,  and  my  chief  pleasure  in  an  Adagio 
is  its  continuity  of  emotion.  For  that  reason  this 
compact  movement,  so  expressive  in  its  contracted 
form,  pleases  me  particularly.  What  a  fine  contrast 
those  clashing  chords  form  to  the  broad  flowing  line 
of  the  melody,  and  how  beautiful  it  sounds!  How 
comical  (in  the  best  sense,  for  one  laughs  for  very 
pleasure)  is  the  Presto  !  how  amazingly  original  in  its 
breathless  hurry,  how  merry,  how  humorous  and 
how  rich  in  every  line  !  The  piano  part  is  so  charm- 
ingly wTitten,  a  pleasure  from  first  to  last,  and  so  play- 
able, with  all  its  colour-eff'ects,  that  one  can  almost 
manipulate  it  at  the  first  reading.  We  literally 
laughed  for  pleasure  over  this  movement,  and  yet 
how  perfectly  in  keeping  with  the  rest  it  is !  It  does 
no  violence  to  one's  mood,  but  is  the  natural  relaxation 
of  a  mind  which  has  just  been  strained  to  the  utmost 
seriousness.  The  presto  of  the  Finale  is  the  most 
difficult  to  grasp  at  first,  but  one  feels  at  once  how 
good  it  is  going  to  be  and  how  fitting  a  crown  to  the 
whole  ;  and  it  has  in  the  highest  degree  the  one  quality 
essential  to  a  Finale — an  irresistible  impetus.     It  tears 


THIRD  VIOLIN  SONATA  363 

along  like  Aurora's  steeds  in  the  glorious  picture,*  and 
gives  one  no  rest  until  the  soothing  second  subject 
comes  in  with  such  fine  solemnity.  Short  as  my 
acquaintance  has  been,  I  took  in  that  beautiful  passing- 
note  D,  where  the  violin  comes  in  in  the  third  bar, 
from  the  first  ;t  also  the  lovely  pp  passages  and  the 
crescendo  in  the  development.  How  delightful  they 
are  to  play,  too,  excepting  the  last  bit,  which  is  rather 
cruel !  We  played  on  and  on  in  a  tumult  of  delight, 
and  paused  at  last  with  flushed  cheeks,  restraining 
ourselves  with  an  effort  from  beginning  all  over  again. 
We  could  not  have  done  it  on  Amanda's  account;  that 
is  reserved  for  this  evening,  and  we  are  rejoicing  in 
the  prospect  meanwhile.  I  had  to  write  you  these 
few  words,  which  are  at  least  better  than  a  telegram, 
to  let  you  know  what  a  festival  we  are  having  to-day. 

Let  me  thank  you,  dearest  Friend — thank  you  for 
your  good  deed  in  sending  us  the  sonata,  and  thank 
you  for  writing  it  and  giving  us  only  of  your  best. 
Even  Lady  Macbeth's  ambition  is  satisfied  ! 

You  are  not  angry  with  me  for  the  other  day,  are 
you  ?  And  you  do  understand  that  it  is  just  my  very 
sincere  admiration  for  you  which  makes  it  impossible 
for  me  to  do  otherwise  ?  All  the  more  do  I  delight  in 
my  feelings  to-da3^ — Your  grateful  and  devoted 

LiSL  Herzogenberg. 

You  will  forgive  the  slovenliness  of  these  prestissimo 
scribbled  lines  ?  I  could  not  wait  to  think  over  what 
I  should  say,  and  the  result  is  a  mass  of  slips  and 
smudges. 

*  Guido  Reni's  fresco  in  the  Rospigliosi  Palace  in  Rome.  Brahms 
had  a  copy  of  Rafael  Morghen's  engraving  in  his  music-room  in 
Vienna. 

t  Op.  108,  p.  24,  bar  30. 


364  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

234.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  November  3,  1888.] 

Dear  Lady, — A  thousand  thanks ;  but  greatly  as  the 
sonata  letter  delighted  me,  I  am  far  more  inclined  to  be 
suspicious  about  it  than  the  other;*  neither  did  I 
expect  to  hear  you  say  such  nice  things  about  the 
Zigeunerlieder.  I  prefer  to  consider  it  an  error  of 
judgment  rather  than  a  case  of  hypocrisy,  however, 
so  for  the  present  accept  my  sincere  though  hasty 
thanks. 

I  have  just  written  to  Frau  Schumann.  In  case  she 
should  want  the  sonata,  please  send  it  her  at  once. 
We  can  see  about  a  copy  afterwards. 

I  doubt  whether  there  is  anything  you  would  care 
about  among  my  things.  1  have  only  a  few  trans- 
positions and  arrangements  lying  by.  If  you  will 
mention  any  special  piece  (as  the  first  violin  sonata), 
I  will  try  and  get  it.  It  would  be  easier  for  you  than 
for  me  to  ask  Astor  for  the  Platenf  things. 

Once  more  best  thanks,  and  if  you  should  have 
made  the  last  letter  too  sugary  from  sheer  kindness, 
send  the  pepper-box  after  it. — Your  grateful 

J  OH.  Br. 

235.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Nice,  November  6,  1888.] 

My  dear  Friend, — I  am  quite  touched  by  the  arrival 
just  now  of  the  dear  old  G  major  sonata.|    It  is  surely 

*  Letter  232. 

t  Op.  32  (including  Platen's  *Wie  rafft'  ich  mich  auf,'  to  which 
reference  is  made  in  Letter  232)  was  published  by  Rieter-Biedermann 
(Astor). 

%  Op.  78.     Brahms  had  sent  it  off  before  his  letter  on  the  3rd. 


THIRD  VIOLIN  SONATA  365 

a  sign  that  you  are  not  angry  with  me,  after  all.  My 
very  best  thanks. 

I  know  the  D  minor  sonata  by  heart  now,  to  my 
great  joy.  It  is  an  indescribable  pleasure  to  absorb  it 
into  one's  self  and  then  play  it  quite  out  of  one's  head. 
Amanda  Rontgen  and  I  kept  on  smiling  at  each  other 
when  we  found  we  knew  even  the  last  movement 
to-day.  But  the  development  gives  us  considerable 
trouble,  and  I  do  beg  you  will  look  at  those  syncopa- 
tions* again,  and  see  if  you  could  not  alter  them  a 
little ;  I  mean  from  B  flat  minor  onwards,  and  particu- 
larly the  bars  where  the  bass  has  the  theme  in  C  sharp 
minor.t  It  is  more  comprehensible  in  the  big  crescendo 
afterwards,  where  the  swing  and  breadth  of  movement 
are  a  help.  But  the  C  sharp  minor  part  is  complicated 
by  the  unfavourable  position  of  some  of  the  important 
notes  of  the  harmony  given  to  the  fiddle.  It  is  really 
quite  a  blot  on  the  movement,  which  is  so  glorious 
and  so  efifective  as  a  whole.  Then,  again,  one  has  to 
struggle  and  pant  to  keep  in,  because  there  is  so  often 
nothing  to  mark  the  strong  beats  in  those  bars.  It 
would  be  just  the  same,  I  believe,  no  matter  how  good 
the  violinist,  and  it  is  such  a  pity  to  let  that  one  place 
spoil  the  effect,  when  the  rest  of  the  movement  sounds 
so  well.  It  is  one  of  those  episodes  that  only  musicians 
will  understand,  and  that  is  not  desirable,  is  it  ? 

I  have  one  other  proposal :  that  you  should  make 
the  chords  in  the  Scherzo  pizzicato.  It  sounds  as  well 
again.t      Played  arco^  that  part  becomes  abstract  too ; 

*  Op.  108,  p.  28. 

t  P.  28,  bars  I  and  9.  Brahms  did  not  alter  this  extremely  difficult 
passage. 

X  Brahms  followed  this  suggestion  in  part.  In  the  repetition 
(p.  20,  bar  21)  the  vioHn  chords  are  marked  pizzicato  ;  on  the  other 
hand,  the  vioUnist  finds  special  legato  marks  in  the  beginning  to  show 


366  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

you  hear  notes,  but  no  connected  sound,  and  it  makes 
it  difficult  to  trace  the  continuation  when  the  whole 
passage  is  so  complicated  in  itself.  I  always  add  the 
top  note  on  to  my  own  chord,  which  makes  it  much 
clearer.  Here  at  Number  27,  Carabacel,  it  does  not 
seem  to  matter  if  I  take  such  liberties  ! 

ft » 


^ 


If  it  is  left  to  the  violin  it  is  all  too  shadowy,  and 
although  it  sounds  more  real  played  pizzicato,  the 
doubling  does  no  harm  even  then.  Please  tell  me 
if  you  agree  about  Xh^  pizzicato,  or  if  you  think  it  all 
nonsense? 

Let  me  thank  you  once  more  for  this  glorious 
piece,  whose  beauties  now  lie  fully  revealed  before 
me.  The  construction  seems  to  me  more  and  more 
wonderful.  If  it  were  not  so  exquisitely  compact, 
proportioned  like  the  facade  of  some  romanesque 
church,  how  could  one  commit  it  to  memory  so 
quickly?  .  .  .f 


236.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg, 

[Vienna,  'November  6,  1888.^] 

It  seems  I  did  not  write  clearly  to  Frau  Schumann. 
She  asks  me  to  request  you  to  send  her  the  sonata 

that  the  chords  are  to  be  played  as  broadly  as  possible,  and,  of  course, 
with  the  bow.  It  is  perfectly  in  keeping  with  the  con  sentimento 
which  modifies  the  un  poco  presto  of  the  signature. 

♦  P.  17,  bar  9.— Tr. 

t  The  second  sheet  of  the  letter  is  lost. 

X  Letters  234  and  235  appear  to  have  crossed  in  the  post. 


THIRD  VIOLIN  SONATA  367 

immediately^  which  I  now  do,  with  a  sffz*  by  way  of 

emphasis.      She   is   going   to    Berlin   very  soon,  and 

would   like  to  play  it  with  Joachim ;  and  she  is  so 

conscientious  as  to  want  to  prepare  it  thoroughly. — 

Kindest  regards  to  you  all  from  yours, 

J.  Br. 

237.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

[Nice,  'November  8,  1888.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Forgive  me  for  bothering 
you  again  so  soon,  but  I  must  ask  whether  the  dis- 
crepancy between  the  original  *  bridge '  leading  to 
the  second  subject  and  the  parallel  passage  later  is 
deliberate  or  accidental  ?  You  remember,  the  first 
time  it  is — 


-•-^ ^ 1-— 1 


Sya 


w 


-1         .^zz te te 


r: 


« 


=E 


Eb 


and  the  second  time,  where,  to  be  consistent,  B  flat 
major  should  be  followed  by  C,  the  sentence  begins 
with  A  major.f  Please  do  you  mind  explaining?  I 
still  have  no  message  from  Frau  Schumann,  so  am 
keeping  the  sonata  ;  but  ought  I  to  have  despatched 
it  to  Frankfurt  before?  If  only  Joachim  might  have 
it  soon !  I  cannot  say  how  badly  I  have  wanted  him 
just  now,  with  all  due  respect  to  the  musical  Amanda. 
One  thing  more :  in  the  6th  and  7th  bars  of  the 
Finale  you  change  the  harmonies  in  the  piano  part, 

*  To  indicate  the  strongest  possible  sforzato. 

t  Op.  108,  p.  4,  bar  12.  \  P.  10,  bar  3. — Tr. 


368  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

but  }tot  in  the  parallel  passage.*  I  thought  I  would 
just  tell  you.  Personally  I  am  glad,  and  should  even 
prefer  a  simple  augmented  triad  (F,  A,  CiJ)  to  accom- 
pany the  F  on  the  fiddle,  instead  of  that  E,  which 
always  sounds  like  a  mistake.  Until  you  forbid  me, 
I  shall  continue  to  play — 


-€-        -€-—-€- 


^^    I     -t-    l-t- 

The  more  I  play  the  Finale,  the  more  hopelessly  do 
I  fall  in  love  with  it.  *  Wind  and  Strome^  Donner  und 
Hagel  raiischen  ihren  Weg'\  I  hardly  know  anything 
else  that  tears  along  with  such  spirit.  I  always 
wonder  how  you  felt  when  you  tried  to  fetter  the 
mental  picture  and  shape  it  in  artistic  form.  How 
glorious  it  must  be  to  feel  it  has  lost  none  of  its 
original  power  in  the  process  of  development,  from 
that  first  conception  to  its  present  elaborately  worked- 
out  form !  It  has  preserved  all  its  natural  flavour, 
and  yet  every  little  note  plays  its  allotted  part  in 
building  up  a  masterpiece.  How  often  must  even  the 
greatest  composer  find  the  cherished  vision  he  is 
striving  to  capture  'melt  like  a  cloud  of  mist  and 
vanish  like  a  breath,' |  or  appear  as  a  lifeless  repro- 
duction !  But  this  is  so  warm  with  life,  so  full  of  fire 
and  vigour,  so  direct  and  sincere  in  its  appeal,  that 
the  consciousness  of  any  intermediate  stage  is  entirely 
absent. 

Had  I  but  the  gift  of  eloquence  to  tell  you  really 
and  truly  all  I  feel,  and  how  entirely  this  great,  this 
beautiful  work  has  won  our  hearts !  .  .  .§ 

*  Op.  io8,  p.  27,  bars  3  and  4.  t  Goethe,  Das  Gottliche. 

X  Quotation  from  the  song  *  Wie  Melodien  zieht  es,'  Op.  105,  No.  i. 

§  The  letter  is  incomplete. 


THIRD  VIOLIN  SONATA  369 

238.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  voit  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna]  November  10,  1888  * 

Dear  Friend, — Quite  as  much  depends  on  the  way 
a  letter  is  read  as  on  the  way  it  is  written. 

In  my  reply  to  your  letter  there  is  not  a  word  of 
untruth,  nor  did  it  ever  occur  to  me  to  write  one. 
I  should  be  incapable,  for  very  shame,  of  responding 
to  you  and  your  genuine,  well-meant  criticism  other- 
wise than  with  the  utmost  sincerity  and  gratitude, 
even  though  I  might  consider  I  had  the  right  to 
contradict  you. 

It  was  not  right  of  me  to  reply  to  your  long  and 
careful  letter  with  that  hasty,  casual  note,  which  was 
probably  responsible  for  your  misapprehension.  It 
must  have  sounded  confused  to  a  degree,  for  I  had  all 
sorts  of  things  in  my  head  just  then,  and  intended 
writing  more  fully  another  time. 

I  have  often  told  myself  I  should  do  better  to 
give  up  corresponding  with  my  friends  altogether.  I 
generally  manage  to  go  wrong  somewhere,  and  if  I 
don't,  my  correspondent  infallibly  does  in  reading  it ! 

I  hope  you  really  sent  off  the  sonata  on  the  spot  ? 
You  know  Frau  Schumann  is  very  touchy ! — Kindest 
regards  to  all  three  of  you, 

J.  Br. 

(Do  you  ever  meet  the  great  Nietzsche  t  on  your 
marketing  expeditions,  and  read  him  when  you  get 
home  ?) 

*  The  date  was  noted  by  Frau  von  Herzogenberg,  and  marks  the 
arrival  of  the  letter. 

t  Friedrich  Nietzsche  (1844- 1900),  the  philosopher,  had  spent  the 
previous  winter  at  Nice,  but  was  then  in  Turin. 

24 


370  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

239.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Nice,  'November  10,  1888.] 

Thank  you,  dear,  dear  Friend,  for  your  good  letter 
just  received.  Believe  me,  if  I  misread  the  other,  it 
was  not  lack  of  modesty  which  influenced  me,  but  a 
not  unnatural  diffidence.  And  how,  pray,  was  I  to 
take  that  remark  about  your  being  *  more  inclined  to 
be  suspicious'  about  my  second  letter  than  my  first?* 

Only  consider  what  a  perfect  right  a  man  like  you 
has,  after  all,  to  grow  impatient  with  a  woman  like 
myself,  and  simply  say,  *  Hold  your  tongue,  goosey !' 
I  had,  after  all,  every  reason  to  fear  your  wrath,  in 
spite  of  your  friendship  and  all  the  indulgence  it  brings, 
and  your  note  the  other  day  was  so  *  enharmonically ' 
ambiguous  that  I  really  had  some  ground  for  bothering 
you  again  with  my  inquiries. 

Set  your  mind  at  rest ;  the  sonata  went  off  yesterday 
by  the  first  post.  Frau  Schumann  has  surely  not  had 
time  to  be  angry  yet  ?  In  any  case  I  am  innocent ; 
yet  the  fact  that  she  did  not  write  to  me  for  the  sonata 
looks  rather  suspicious.  She  must  be  jealous  of  our 
having  had  the  pleasure  first,  but  poor  Heinrich  might 
really  be  allowed  this  special  favour.  When  I  think 
how  rich  all  your  lives  are  compared  with  ours,  which 
is  one  struggle  against  overwhelming  odds  !  If  we  do 
contrive  to  be  fairly  happy  sometimes,  it  is  hard-earned 
happiness,  and  people  who  still  show  us  a  little  extra 
kindness  will  find  that  it  is  not  wasted. 

I  have  already  abused  Nietzsche  with  some  vigour, 
and  am  always  lamenting  that  such  an  intellect  should 
have  gone  to  the  wrong  man.     For  I  do  think  him  ex- 

*  Cf.  Letter  234. 


NIETZSCHE  371 

tremely  clever  despite  all  his  vagaries,  his  paradoxes, 
and  his  boundless  exaggerations.  I  have  seldom  been 
so  fascinated  by  any  book  as  by  his  Genealogie  der 
Moral,*  for  instance,  and  I  would  rather  disagree  with 
one  of  his  calibre  than  agree  with  many  others,  who 
are  more  orthodox  but  have  less  to  say.  And  in  his 
Der  Fall  Wagner\  his  description  of  Wagner's  style 
is  excellent,  better  than  anything  else  I  have  read — 
don't  you  agree  ?  But  when  he  goes  on  to  discredit  the 
worth  and  the  style  of  another  composer,t  so  precious  to 
us,  dismissing  the  subject  with  careless  levity,  I  simply 
ignore  it  as  I  do  his  flippant,  short-sighted  depreciation 
of  Christianity  and  many  other  things.  One  has  to  sift 
the  wheat  from  the  chaff  as  one  reads,  and  exercise 
much  toleration;  but  the  remainder  is  worth  it,  and 
there  are  certain  things  no  one  but  this  odd  person  is 
able  to  say,  it  seems  to  me.  His  remarks  on  music  in 
Jenseits  von  Gut  und  Bdse§  are  incredible  and  incom- 
prehensible in  relation  to  the  rest.  The  best,  from 
a  humorous  standpoint,  is  his  allusion  in  the  latest 
pamphlet  to  the  only  man  living  who  can  write  an 
overture — ie.,  Nietzsche,!  *  who  has  given  to  mankind 

*  Appeared  in  1887. 

+  Der  Fall  Wagner,  Turiner  Brief  vom  Mai,  1888.  In  this  letter 
Nietzsche  turns  and  rends  his  former  idol.  He  concludes  the  letter 
with  an  attack  on  Brahms,  culminating  in  the  sentence  (often  mis- 
quoted) :  '  His  is  the  melancholy  of  impotence.'  But  Nietzsche's 
judgment  was  biassed  by  personal  considerations  in  each  case. 
Neither  Wagner  nor  Brahms  approved  of  his  compositions. 

X  Brahms.  §  PubUshed  in  1886. 

II  Nietzsche  alludes  to  his  friend  Peter  Gast  (Heinrich  Koselitz, 
b.  1854),  composer  of  various  operas,  orchestral  and  chamber-music 
works.  On  June  28,  1888,  Nietzsche  expresses  himself  in  a  letter  to 
the  effect  that  Gast  is  the  only  man  left  whose  music  finds  grace  in  his 
eyes,  and  that  his  opera  {The  Lion  of  Venice)  is  the  first  of  modern 
operas — gay,  emotional,  and  masterly  in  style,  not  amateurish  like 
Wagner's. 

24 — 2 


372  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  most  profound  books  it  possesses ' !  But  Volkland 
knows  a  composition  of  his  which  is  beneath  criticism.* 
Really,  this  man's  vanity  will  bring  him  to  a  lunatic 
asylum  yet !  All  the  same,  it  would  amuse  me  to  meet 
him  and  have  a  tussle.     Is  he  reall}^  here  ? 

Heinz  chmbed  the  Schlossberg  with  me  this  morning, 
a  very  creditable  performance  even  for  normal  people. 
Wasn't  it  good !  By  the  way,  please  thank  Billroth 
very  much  for  his  intended  call.  It  was  exceedingly 
kind  of  him  to  think  of  my  Heinz. 

Farewell,  and  thank  you  once  more  for  the  good 
letter.  My  soul  was  indeed  *  cast  down  and  disquieted 
within  me 'I  Let  me  see  what  dear  Frau  Schumann 
says  to  you  about  the  sonata.  I  wish  I  could  be  there 
when  she  plays  it  with  Joachim.  Another  thing  I 
wanted  to  say — if  doing  up  parcels  is  not  too  terrible 
a  nuisance,  I  should  welcome  anything,  arrangements, 
transpositions,  etc.  I  know  the  original  keys,  and  can 
adapt  the  transpositions  accordingly. 

It  will  all  come  in  useful  for  Liseley  later  on ! 

Remember  me  to  Frau  Franz ;  she  wrote  such  a  kind 

letter.     I  shall  be  writing  to  the   Fabers. — Your  old 

friend  and  admirer, 

LiSL  Herzogenberg. 

What  is  the  name  of  Epstein's  street  again  ? 

240.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  October  14,  1888.] 

Epstein's  address  is  I.  Rudolfsplatz  13.  Nietzsche's 
was  Hotel  de  Geneve  a  short  time  ago.     He  is  said  to 

*  Hymnus  an  das  Leben,  for  chorus  and  orchestra,  which  Nietzsche 
had  sent  to  Brahms  with  a  dedication.  Brahms,  however,  decHned 
the  honour,  sending  a  polite  message  on  his  visiting  card. 


NIETZSCHE  373 

be  a  fitting  illustration  of  his  Jejtseits  von  Gut  unci  Bose. 

His  piece  for  chorus*  has  been  printed  by  Fritzsch,  and 

is  much  the  same  as  any  young  student's  effort.    Don't 

waste  the  precious  daylight  too  often  by  reading  such 

things,  and  remember  the  saying:  'The  reverse  may 

be   true.'t      Labort    gave   an   excellent   rendering   of 

Heinz's   E  flat   sonata  with   a   good  violinist  at   the 

Tonkimstlerverein  the  other  day.     He  has  a  splendid 

touch,  fire,  energy,  and  everything  desirable. — Kindest 

regards, 

J.  Br. 

241.  Elisabet  vo7i  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Florence,  May  14,  1889. 

Dear,  dear  Friend, — We  were  glad  to  have  your 
message  through  Frau  Schumann,  and  the  good  news 
that  you  would  like  to  see  us,  and  would  even  face 
a  journey  to  that  end.  You  offered  so  kindly  to  come 
to  Graz  in  case  we  should  pass  through,  and  were 
equally  willing  to  go  to  Berchtesgaden,  which  would 
not  be  far  from  your  summer  home  this  year.  We 
shall  hold   you   to   it,  and  beg  you   to   be  sure  and 

*  C/.  Letter  239. 

t  *  Perhaps  the  reverse  may  be  true '  is  a  remark  of  Beethoven's 
at  the  age  of  twenty,  recorded  on  a  sketch  page  for  the  music  to 
Holty's  ^ Klage'  (in  possession  of  the  Archiv  der  Gesellschaft  dcr 
Musikfreunde,  Vienna),  as  the  result  of  a  long  debate  on  the  relation 
between  the  method  of  notation  and  tempo.  Brahms  gleaned  the 
phrase  from  a  supplementary  volume  to  the  complete  Beethoven 
edition,  pubHshed  in  1888,  and  was  fond  of  using  it  to  dispose  of 
any  sophistries  and  equivocations  attributed  to  philosophers  of  the 
day.  It  is  characteristic  of  his  general  attitude  that  he  did  not 
think  it  worth  while  to  mention  the  incident  between  Nietzsche  and 
himself. 

J  Josef  Labor  (b.  1842),  Court  organist,  pianist,  and  composer,  in 
Vienna. 


374  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

act  upon  your  charming  resolve.  We  should  have 
infinitely  more  of  you  at  Liseley  than  at  Graz,  where 
we  are  only  paying  a  short  visit  to  our  relatives,  and 
shall  hardly  have  a  room  to  ourselves  ;  whereas  at 
Liseley  we  can  offer  you  a  nice  room  and  an  excellent 
bed.  It  would  be  such  a  joy  to  welcome  you  there  at 
last.  We  move  in  at  the  end  of  June  or  beginning  of 
July,  as  our  dear  Dr.  Schmid,  the  ruler  of  our  destin}^, 
makes  no  objection.  I  shall  write  promptly,  and  hope 
to  hear  from  you  in  the  meantime. 

We  have  so  enjoyed  having  Frau  Schumann  here 
and  at  Nice,  although  we  wish  she  could  enjoy  all  the 
beauties  of  the  place  more  at  the  cost  of  less  exer- 
tion. The  dear  thing  has  ten  years  too  many  on  her 
shoulders,  and  has  not  the  elasticity  of  temperament 
which  one  must  possess  if  one  would  be  perfectly 
happy  among  the  Italians  in  spite  of  the  dirt,  fraud 
and  general  discomfort.  Also  one  needs  more  leisure 
to  absorb  so  many  new  impressions,  striking  as  they 
may  be,  than  her  circular  tour  ticket — that  ghastly 
invention ! — allowed  her.  Once  or  twice  we  found 
her  miserably  seated  on  her  camp-stool  before  some 
Signorelli  or  Verocchio,  rubbing  her  hands  nervously 
and  trying  so  hard  to  feel  some  enthusiasm.  But 
nothing  would  come  and  carry  her  off  her  feet ; 
nothing  awoke  a  response  in  her,  receptive  as  she 
undoubtedly  is.  The  truth  is,  one  can  only  appreciate 
the  best  in  art  after  a  thorough  apprenticeship;  we 
have  to  serve  our  seven  years  for  so  many  things  in 
this  world !  But  when  the  glorious  soul  did  take  in 
anything  quickly,  her  beautiful  grey  eyes,  dim  with 
emotion,  would  light  up  with  youthful  fire,  as  we  all 
love  to  see  them ;  and  how  we  rejoiced  in  these  rare 
moments  of  happiness  for  her  I     She  always  enjoyed 


FRAU  SCHUMANN  IN  ITALY  375 

going  to  see  our  dear  Hildebrand*  at  San  Francesco, 
and  seeing  his  fine  new  things.  You  must  really  meet 
him  and  get  to  know  and  admire  his  work. 

You  can  imagine  how  much  we  talked  about  your 
D  minor,  t  each  taking  the  words  from  the  other's 
mouth.  Frau  Schumann  played  the  precious  thing 
with  Amanda  Rontgen,  and  was  very  pleased  with 
her. 

They  sang  Heinrich's  psalm t  at  Leipzig  yesterday, 
dispensing  with  an  orchestra,  but  putting  all  possible 
good-will  into  the  performance  ;  and  Heinrich — who 
is  not  spoilt  —  was  much  pleased  by  a  telegram 
from  the  Bachverein  a  yard  long.  He  has  never 
heard  a  syllable  from  you  on  the  subject,  however, 
and  that  would  please  him  far  more.  Rudorff's  per- 
formance in  March  §  was  very  good,  they  say. 

I  must  stop.     I  have  very  little  time  here.     Kindest 

messages  from  Heinrich,  who  is  wild  with  delight  at 

the  thought  of  having  you  at  Liseley.     Let  us  know 

when  it  would  suit  you  best.     It  is  too  nice  of  you  to 

come    to   our  mountains   again,   and    leave    superior 

Switzerland  to  look  after  itself.  || — Give  a  kind  thought 

to  your  most  devoted 

Herzogenbergs. 
Via  Ponta  a  E^a  ^i^ 

RiCCORBOLI. 

*  The  sculptor,  who  had  been  living  at  Florence  since  1874. 

t  The  third  violin  sonata.  |  Herzogenberg,  Op.  60. 

§  At  the  Stern  Gesangverein,  Berlin. 

II  Brahms's  house  at  Thun  had  been  spoilt  for  him  by  a  newly 
laid-out  promenade  on  the  bank  of  the  Aare,  which  ran  immediately 
under  his  windows.  Strangers,  especially  English  tourists,  insisted 
on  stopping  to  listen  when  he  was  playing. 


376  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

242.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg, 

IscHL  \May  23,  1889]. 

Dear  Lady, — I  do  wish  I  could  have  the  pleasure 
of  seeing  Frau  Schumann  enjoy  Italy. 

But  it  is  too  late  now,  and  your  letter,  in  describing 
the  pathetic  side  of  it,  proves  that  I  was  right  not  to 
attempt  it.  It  could  have  been  no  satisfaction,  since 
it  fell  so  far  short  of  what  one  hoped  and  desired 
for  her. 

I  don't  understand  your  movements,  given  the 
supposition  that  good  air  is  what  Heinz  needs.  Both 
your  present  stay  in  Florence  and  the  projected  visit 
to  Berchtesgaden  are  inexplicable.  However,  the 
prospect  of  our  long-postponed  meeting  is  clear  to 
me,  and  makes  me  as  happy  as  a  king. 

I  have  still  to  thank  you  for  certain  dear  old  friends 
in  their  smart  new  Rieter  dress.*  No  one  could 
receive  and  examine  your  husband's  things  with 
greater  eagerness  and  affection  than  I.  Yet  you 
must  not  expect  any  further  comment,  for  I  simply 
cannot  see  my  way  to  it.  For  one  thing,  we  have 
both  much  the  same  ambition  in  this  case,  so  that 
I  am  led,  involuntarily,  to  compare  my  own  point  of 
view.  My  only  safe  outlet  would  be  a  cheerful  attack 
on  the  texts,  which  would  bring  me  no  honour  and 
glory;  for  it  only  means  that  I  am  lazier  than  Heinrich, 
and  wait  until  something  turns  up  to  attract  me.  The 
words  of  his  psalm  never  would  !  They  remind  me  of 
a  fanatical  religious  war,  and  that  is  no  subject  for 
music.f 

■^  Herzogenberg's  compositions — in  particular  Ps.  xciv. 
•j"  The  psalm  begins,  'O  Lord  God,  to  whom  vengeance  belongeth,' 
but  closes  with  the  words,  'Yea,  the  Lord  our  God  shall  cut  them  off.' 


AT  ISCHL  377 

Well,  1  wish  you  all  things  good  and  beautiful,  with 
my  visit  to  Berchtesgaden  as  an  intermezzo ! 

I  dare  not  ask  to  be  supplied  with  news  occasionally ; 
I  am  so  far  from  deserving  it. — With  kindest  regards, 
yours, 

J.  Br. 

243.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[IscHL,  June  28,  1889.] 

This  is  just  to  say  that  I  have  made  no  plans,  and 
shall  look  forward  eagerly  to  your  next  letter.  You 
know  Ischl  and  the  '  Post,'*  or  perhaps  some  of  the 
other  better-class  inns  ?  It  is  foolish  to  venture  an 
opinion  without  knowing  the  circumstances — but  I  am 
glad,  all  the  same,  that  you  are  not  going  to  Berchtes- 
gaden. 

Good-bye  then,  with  best  thanks  for  the  delightful 
prospect  this  opens  up. — Yours  always  sincerely, 

J.  Br. 

244.  Brahms  to  Heinrich  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Ischl,  July  29,  1889.] 

Your  parcel  arrived  with  the  post-card,  though  I 
only  saw  and  read  the  latter  afterwards.  And  what 
a  disappointment!  No  piano  concerto  of  yours  for 
me,  but  what  I  take  to  be  a  violin  concerto  of  your 
wife's  for  Joachimf — and  not  even  permission  to  open 
the  fat  parcel !  Now,  of  course,  I  shall  not  be  able 
to  enclose  anything  for  eight  voices; J  I  confess  it  is 

*  An  inn  at  Ischl. 

t  The  music  sent  was  probably  Herzogenberg's  Lcgenden  for  piano 
and  viola,  Op.  62,  dedicated  to  '  his  Friend,  Josef  Joachim.' 

I  Three  motets  for  four-part  and  eight-part  chorus  a  capella, 
Op.  no,  which  Brahms  had  shown  them  on  their  visit  to  Ischl. 


378  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

not  copied  out  yet,  and  will  come  in  nicely  to  send 
along  with  a  letter  of  thanks  for  your  most  kind  visit. 
You  will  enjoy  sta3^ing  there,"^  I  feel  sure,  for  it  is  a 
glorious  spot.  How  you  will  revel  in  those  woods  I — 
Sincerely  yours,  j   gj^ 

245.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  December  26,  1889. 

Dear,  dear  Friend, — It  would  be  difficult  to  give 
you  any  idea  of  my  pleasure  in  receiving  your  parcel 
— a  precious  gift  in  every  respect.  I  am  writing  at 
once  to  ask  you  to  set  my  mind  at  rest  on  two  points. 
First,  I  usually  look  upon  anything  that  arrives  on 
Christmas  Day  as  a  present ;  but  may  I  really  claim 
these  polonaises,  interlarded  with  such  truffles,t  as 
my  own  ?  Can  you  really  have  intended  anything 
so  delightful  ?  Then — and  this  agitates  me  even  more 
— the  end  of  the  piece  is  missing!  It  only  goes  to 
page  — ,  so  the  rest  must  still  be  in  your  possession,  and 
not,  surely,  by  your  own  intention.  You  would  never 
be  so  inhuman  as  to  '  put  asunder  that  which  God  hath 
joined'  just  for  the  sake  of  keeping  another  piece 
intact!  I  would  rather  resign  mine  in  that  case,  if 
the  other  happier  solution  is  impossible. 

In  any  case  I  want  a  line  to  reassure  me,  and  if 
possible  the  missing  pages.  I  leave  you  to  imagine 
the  bliss  with  which  I  sat  down  to  the  piano  with 
the   mildewed^   manuscript,   the   delight   with  which 

*  At  Baden-Baden. 

t  The  motets  mentioned  in  Letter  244.  Brahms  had  followed  his 
usual  method  of  wrapping  the  manuscript  in  old  Viennese  dance- 
music,  probably  the  polonaises  referred  to. 

\  It  is  evident  from  this  that  Brahms  had  again  indulged  his 
passion  for  using  old  waste-paper. 


MOTETS  379 

I  hailed  each  fresh  entry,*  my  absorption  in  the 
exquisite  passing-notes,  and  my  renewed  wonder  at 
the  unfailing  terseness  and  vigour,  the  delicious 
warmth  of  feeling  in  every  bar — and  finally  my 
gratitude  for  being  permitted  to  see  and  enjoy  it. 

You  have  again  made  me  exceedingly  happy. 

More  later  on,  when  I  am  reassured  as  to  those 
missing  pages. — Your  old  friend, 

LiSL  Herzogenberg. 

P.S. — I  can't  tell  you  the  page,  as  you  have  only 
numbered  the  sheets.    Those  I  have  are  ii,  12,  and  13. 

246.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December  29,  1888.] 

Dearest  Friend, — For  to-day  let  me  simply  notify 

you  that  the  last  page  contains  nothing  more  valuable 

than  a  few  closing  bars.     It   was  left   behind   from 

absent-mindedness,  like  the  commonest  umbrella.    As 

soon  as  I  can  find  a  nice  diagonal  wrapperf  I  will  put 

it  in. — With  kindest  regards,  yours, 

J.Br. 

247.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Berlin]  Burggrafenstrasse  4, 
March  17,  1890. 

Dearest  Friend, — I  hope  you  are  not  angry  at 
receiving  no  acknowledgment  of  the  patriotic  Gedenk- 
spruche  and  motets  \\  but  we  received  them  a  fortnight 
late,  as  we  now  see  from  the  enclosed  bills  of  consign- 

♦  Of  the  different  voices  in  the  choruses, 
t  Meaning  another  page  of  old  dance  music. 

\  Fesi-  und  Gedenkspruche,  Op.  109,  and  Drei  Moteiten,  Op.  no, 
pubUshed  by  Simrock  early  in  1890. 


38o  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

ment,  dated  February  21  and  March  10,  owing  to  some 
oversight  at  Simrock's.  Since  then  Heinrich  has  been 
hoping  from  day  to  day  to  write  to  you  himself — an 
intention  of  long  standing — and  thank  you  properly 
for  this  delightful  present.  Instead,  he  is  condemned 
to  sit  idle,  with  the  further  complication  of  a  painful 
and  troublesome  inflammation  of  the  eyes — so  his 
wife  must  again  be  the  speaker. 

We  take  the  deepest  pleasure  in  these  choruses. 
Your  choice  of  the  glorious,  strengthening  words, 
designed  to  enhance  the  splendour  of  these  solemn 
festivals,  is  not  happier  than  the  note  you  have  chosen 
for  their  musical  setting.  It  is  so  precisely  right — 
edifying,  simple,  pithy,  unsentimental,  and  yet  glowing 
with  inward  fervour.  I  wish  I  could  hear  them 
soon,  rendered  in  the  spirit  in  which  they  were  con- 
ceived. A  composition  written  in  a  serious  mood 
should  be  performed  with  equal  seriousness,  not 
thrust  upon  concert-goers  whether  the  rest  of  the 
programme  is  suitable  or  not.  Although  I  now  have 
my  motets*  in  print,  with  the  addition  of  a  most 
insulting  piano  arrangement  (a  severe  reflection  on 
present-day  choir-masters,  by  the  way  !),t  I  want  that 
last  page  of  mine  more  than  ever.  You  really  must 
not  keep  it  back  any  longer.  Please  smuggle  it  neatly 
in  with  some  delightful  thing  or  other,  and  send  it  me 
very  soon.| 

*  '  Wenn  wir  in  hochsten  Noten  seien,'  and  Op.  no,  No.  2,  '  Ach 
arme  Welt,  dii  trUgest  mich,'  which  Frau  von  Herzogenberg  had 
appropriated  as  a  Christmas  present  to  herself. 

t  The  piano  arrangement  is  duly  explained  in  the  score  as  a 
'  possible  help  in  rehearsing.' 

I  Brahms  could  not  be  induced  to  give  up  the  missing  page. 
Frau  von  Herzogenberg's  manuscript  was  found  incomplete  after 
her  death. 


THE  B  MAJOR  TRIO  381 

Don't  be  so  sparing  with  the  use  of  your  pen !  It 
used  to  be  much  more  diligent  on  my  behalf.  In 
sorting  out  my  letters,  I  was  touched  to  find  I  had 
quite  a  respectable  fat  bundle  in  your  handwriting  to 
tie  up  and  pat,  and  the  thought  would  come,  Why 
does  he  grow  more  monosyllabic  ?  why  does  he  only 
send  post-cards  when  he  writes  at  all — these  lamentable 
substitutes  for  closed  and  therefore  precious  letters? 
That  you  can  write  charmingly  I  realized  again  with 
joy  on  perusing  these  letters — of,  alas !  such  ancient 
date! 

You  used  to  demand  an  epistle  from  me  now  and 
again,  too;  but  one  drops  into  silence  after  a  time 
when  no  sound  penetrates  the  dear,  beautiful  forest 
in  which  one  wanders.  It  is  a  pity.  Our  pleasures 
are  not  so  numerous  that  we  can  afford  to  be  wasteful, 
and  even  you  cannot  have  many  such  devoted  friends 
as  ourselves,  in  spite  of  the  new  communities  which 
are  springing  up  all  around  you. 

We  often  long  for  the  B  major  trio,*  and  the  press 
notice  you  were  so  kind  as  to  send  increased  our 
curiosity.t     Don't  keep  us  waiting  too  long. 

Good-bye  for  to-day.  I  should  like  to  write  a  good 
deal  more,  but  don't  know  whether  you  would  care 
for  it. 

*  Brahms  had  thoroughly  overhauled  an  early  work  (Trio  in  B, 
Op.  8),  and  brought  it  out  in  its  improved  form  as  a  'new  edition' 
(see  Kalbeck,  Brahms,  i.  156-163).  He  played  it  on  February  22, 
1890,  in  Vienna  with  Rose  and  Hummer,  and  before  that  in  Buda- 
Pesth  with  Hubay  and  Popper. 

t  Probably  an  anonymous  discussion  which  appeared  in  the 
Deutsche  Kunst-  unci  Musik-Zcihmg,  a  very  inferior  paper.  The 
article,  which  was  remarkable  for  its  intelligence,  took  Brahms  by 
surprise,  and  he  praised  it  to  a  few  of  his  friends.  Among  these  was 
Mandyczewski,  the  writer  of  it ;  he  kept  his  secret,  however,  so  as 
not  to  spoil  Brahms's  pleasure. 


382  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Let  us  hear  from  you  soon.     We  are  not  always 

bright  and  cheerful,  and  can  do  with  a  little  friendly 

encouragement. — Yours  ever, 

LiSL  Herzogenberg. 

Please  remember  me  to  Frau  Franz  and  the  Fabers 
— who  have  had  trouble  again  I 


248.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[IscHL,  May  23,  1890.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  wished,  even  before  leaving  Vienna, 
I  could  borrow  your  wife's  graceful  pen  to  fill  this 
envelope.  I  wanted  to  thank  you  for  your  last  bulky 
parcel,  and  express  my  pleasure  and  thanks  at  my 
ease. 

But  I  never  could  manage  it.  One  thing  in  particular 
restrained  me :  I  have  been  more  than  usually  impressed 
this  time  with  the  great  similarity  of  our  work !  In 
looking  over  the  chorales^  the  quartets,  and  the  songs, 
I  was  quite  agitated  to  find  how  vividly  they  recalled 
all  sorts  of  efforts  of  my  own.  May  your  own  agita- 
tion, when  you  have  occasion  to  indulge  in  a  similar 
retrospect,  be  of  a  more  pleasing  order  than  mine ! 

But  I  am  not  going  into  the  question  of  our  music 
to-day  and  in  these  surroundings.  I  am  merely  curious 
about  something. 

1  read  a  notice  just  now  to  the  effect  that  you  were 
to  be  at  Hamburg  to-day.'^    That  is  a  pleasanter  sort 

*  Several  of  Herzogenberg's  compositions  were  performed  on 
May  23  at  the  Hamburg  TonkunsUerverein,  among  them  a  string 
quartet  (Op.  42,  No.  3),  the  waltzes  for  pianoforte  duet  (Op.  53),  and 
choruses  for  female  voices  from  Op.  26  (performed  by  the  Sing- 
akademie  choir  under  Schwencke).  The  Herzogenbergs  had  gone 
over  specially  for  this  concert. 


HERZOGENBERG  AT  HAMBURG         383 

of  agitation,  and  I  am  particularly  anxious  to  hear 
more  about  it — a  full  account.  The  town  may  have 
pleased  you,  if  it  happens  to  have  exerted  itself  for 
once  to  secure  a  fine  day.  Our  worthy  colleagues 
have  as  usual  exerted  themselves  to  no  effect,  I  imagine  ? 
Mediocre  as  ever  ?  I  miss  Spengel's  name  among  the 
parties  concerned,  yet  he  is  the  leading  spirit  where 
you  and  your  music  are  in  question ! 

I  hope  you  will  be  inclined  for  a  little  chat.  I  need 
not  say  how  specially  interested  I  am.  And  what  are 
your  summer  plans  ?  Send  me  a  few  lines  to  Ischl. 
— With  kindest  regards  to  you  both,  yours, 

J.Br. 

249.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

•Berlin,  ywne  8,  1890. 

Dearest  Friend, — I  might  find  your  *  agitation'  (that 
for  which  my  last  parcel  of  music  was  responsible) 
infectious,  could  I  but  make  sure  what  you  mean  by 
it.  I  could  read  every  meaning  into  your  mysterious 
words — pleasing  or  painful  according  to  the  way  I  turn 
them  about.  The  process  of  my  development  reminds 
you  here  and  there  of  your  own.  Is  it  the  chaff  or  the 
wheat  that  gives  the  resemblance  ?  Or  merely  the 
restlessness  of  my  millstones?  You  know  that  every 
least  sign  from  you  has  been  of  value  to  me,  not  merely 
because  I  was  able  to  grasp  it  instantly,  but  because 
I  always  tried  to  turn  it  to  practical  use ;  and  you 
must  not  withdraw  your  help  now,  whether  you  think 
me  fully  fledged  or  a  hopeless  case.  I  do  not  consider 
myself  'finished  '  in  either  sense. 

We  spent  some  pleasant,  invigorating  days  at  Ham- 
burg.   We  were  quite  unprepared  for  the  imposing  and 


384  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

stirring  aspect  of  your  native  town.  It  makes  Berlin 
seem  like  a  haphazard  conglomeration  of  material, 
which  might  any  day  be  taken  to  pieces  again.  How 
fascinating  it  is  to  stroll  down  to  the  picturesque 
harbour  in  the  morning,  prowl  about  the  quaint, 
serious  old  streets,  and  float  peacefully  down  the 
Alster  past  all  those  serene  old  houses  which  have 
such  a  proprietary  air  ! 

The  only  dissonant  note  (badly  prepared  and  impos- 
sible to  resolve !)  was  X.'s  terribly  flowery  speech. 
The  rest  of  the  evening  passed  off  agreeably.  The 
performance  was  excellent,  and  the  audience  patient 
and  well-disposed.  We  made  some  charming  excur- 
sions through  the  beech-woods  at  Reinbeck  to  the 
Spengels  (what  a  delightful  woman  she  is !),  and  to 
Chrysander,  whose  alertness  we  found  most  refresh- 
ing. The  double  life  he  leads  struck  us  as  so  well 
ordered,  so  natural.  From  the  greenhouse  we  passed 
into  his  music-printing  room ;  from  the  cowhouse  into 
the  library — and  what  a  library !  We  gleaned  the 
latest  authentic  news  of  his  great  neighbour,*  of 
course,  and  were  more  than  ever  nonplussed  by  the 
recent  turn  of  events  and  the  attitude  of  the  Almighty 
in  countenancing  them. 

Before  this  we  had  to  superintend  the  sale  of 
house  and  furniture  at  Berchtesgaden,  taking  our 
last  farewell  with  heavy  hearts  though  not  heavy 
purses ! 

We  shall  spend  July  at  Wildbad,  part  of  August  at 
Sylt ;  so  you  see  we  mean  to  do  our  best — 

Also  for  the  coming  generation  of  composers,  but  I 
am  still  on  the  lookout  for  a  pupil  possessed  of  talent 
at  least !  Has  no  one  come  your  way  whom  you  could 
*  Bismarck,  who  was  then  living  in  retirement  at  Friedrichsruh. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  PUPILS  385 

pass  on  to  me  ?  Kahn*  is  a  real  joy  to  us.  He  seems 
to  improve  as  if  by  instinct,  and  I  have  no  fear  that 
any  seed  of  his  ability  will  run  to  waste.  That  is 
the  right  sort !  Like  stags,  they  select  the  food 
that  suits  them,  and  don't  wait  to  have  it  thrown  to 
them  in  their  stalls  like  cows.  But  could  you  not 
scatter  a  grain  of  manna  in  my  path  again  occasion- 
ally, as  before  ?  I  should  not  be  stingy  and  store 
it  in  sacks  like  the  Jews,  but  use  it  to  feed  my  own 
soul— With  kindest  regards  from  my  wife  and  myself, 

yours, 

Herzogenberg. 


250.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[IscHL,  June  14,  1890.] 

My  very  dear  Friend,  —  I  must  just  thank  you 
for  your  very  kind  and  charming  letter,  though  I 
will  not  attempt  to  answer  it,  being  even  worse 
at  writing  words  than  music  —  for  at  least  I  don't 
begin  to  dislike  the  latter  until  the  day  after  it  is 
written ! 

I  am  glad  my  last  letter  shone  in  two  colours— grey 
for  me,  sky  blue  for  you  ! 

Liseley  stood  for  a  sentimental  chapter  in  your 
family,  and  it  is  grievous  to  hear  that  it  has  come 
to  an  end. 

May  the  summer  bring  you  good  luck  in  other 
respects,  and  the  winter  good  pupils.      I  should  be 

*  Robert  Kahn  (b.  1865),  composer  and  conductor,  pupil  of  Vincenz 
Lachner,  Kiel,  Rheinberger,  and  Herzogenberg,  at  present  Professor 
of  Theory  of  Music  at  the  Hochschide,  Berlin.  In  the  'eighties  he 
had  the  benefit  of  some  lessons  from  Brahms. 

25 


386  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

inclined  to  envy  you  if  I  came  across  any  such.  Be 
glad  you  have  one  at  all ! 

I  had  no  idea  it  was  your  first  visit  to  Hamburg  and 
to  Chrysander,  and  was  the  more  pleased  to  have  your 
cheerful  account. 

But   no   more   to-day  except   renewed   thanks   and 

kindest  regards  to  you  both. — Yours, 

J.Br. 

251.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  October  9,  1890. 

Dear  Friend, — I  have  so  often  had  the  pleasure  of 
showing  you  what  an  event  a  new  piece  is  to  me  that 
I   need   not   fear  you   will   misunderstand  my  silent 
reception  of  your  two  children  this  time.     Heinrich 
wrote  to  you  recently  that  I  had  not  been  well.     I 
have  had  great  difficulty  in  breathing  all  this  time, 
and  felt  almost  paralyzed — not  only  in  my  physical 
movements,  but  mentally.     This  kind  of  oppression 
affects  the  Psyche  within  one,  and   her  wings  soon 
droop.     If  anything  helped   to   pull  me  together,  it 
was  a   glance   into  your  scores,  a  walk  through  the 
sunny  landscape  of  the  new  quintet,*  which  overflows 
with  melodiousness,  gentle  loveliness,  and  heavenly 
peace.     The  *  old '  quintet,  the   F  major,  affected  me 
so  powerfully  again  recently  that  the  new  one   only 
found    a    footing    with    difficulty    (old    friends    are 
fondest !) ;    but   my   heart    soon    surrendered    to    the 
new-comer,   and   is   prepared    to    admit   its   possibly 
greater    beauty    and    benignity,    its    riper,    sweeter 
vintage.     Yet  why  compare  them,  when  they  are  so 
eminently  worthy  to  stand  side  by  side ! 

*  Quintet  in  G,  Op.  iii. 


QUINTET  IN  G  387 

The  very  opening  charmed  me.  I  felt  myself  almost 
transported  into  the  atmosphere  of  the  G  major  sextet, 
and  the  acquaintance  begun  under  such  favourable 
auspices  has  at  no  point  caused  me  any  disillusion. 
How  it  meets  one's  comprehension  halfway  by  its 
exquisite  proportions,  its  compactness!  How  clear 
is  the  framework,  thanks  to  the  absence  of  everything 
superfluous,  and  how  perfectly  each  part  fulfils  its 
allotted  function  !  How  much  everyone  might  learn 
from  it  —  everyone,  that  is,  who  does  not  choose 
simply  to  enjoy  it ;  and  how  I  wish  I  could  hear  it 
soon  !  It  must  sound  so  lighthearted,  different  again 
from  the  F  major,  which  gives  even  our  splendid 
players  here  all  they  can  do  to  bring  out  its  full 
brilliance.  How  charming  the  first  motion  is,  and 
the  melody  for  the  'cello !  How  insinuating  the 
second  subject,  with  its  deft  introduction  !*  Only  the 
opening  bars  of  the  coda  (H)t  struck  me  as  somewhat 
harsh;  the  imitation  between  fiddle  and  viola  is  hardly 
as  insinuating  in  character  as  is  obviously  intended. 
But  I  will  not  weary  you  by  telling  you  things  you 
know  so  much  better,  and  naming  every  bar  that 
charmed  me.  I  may  just  say  how  glorious  I  think 
the  Adagio,  however.  The  C  sharp  minor  piece  in 
the  first  quintet!  is  magnificent,  but  I  rate  this  far 
higher,  on  account  of  its  uniform  character  and  con- 
tinuity. Middle  parts  which  are  designed  for  contrast 
always  hurt  me  a  little,  but  here  the  colours  are  so 
blended  as  to  enhance  each  other's  brilliance,  while 
the  same  even  temper  prevails  throughout.  A 
delicious  movement !  One  is  glad  of  the  Allegretto, 
though,   after    so    much   solemnity.      It   relieves   the 

*  P.  5,  bar  7.  t  Letter  H  in  the  score. 

%  The  second  movement  (Grave  ed  appassionato),  Op.  88. — Tr. 

2S—2 


388  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

strain  without  displaying — as  do  so  many  Allegrettos 
— more  sprightliness  than  is  musically  justifiable. 
Laughter  of  that  refined  and  witty  order  is  becoming 
enough.  And  the  coda  in  the  Trio,  with  that  adorable 
crescendo  before  the  da  capo  on  the  sustained  D — you 
knew  well  that  your  friends  would  exchange  approving 
nods  at  that  point !  I  cannot  appreciate  the  Finale 
thoroughly  until  I  hear  it,  for  it  is  not  eye-music, 
but  rich,  sonorous  ear-music,  too  rich  for  my  imagina- 
tion to  grasp  entirely.  The  rhythm  and  the  line  of  the 
melody  remind  me  of  the  Scherzo  in  the  B  flat  major 
concerto : 


ra 


J; 


•-ik, 


It  is  even,  perhaps,  rather  too  striking  a  reminiscence 
for  anyone  with  such  a  store  as  yours  to  draw  upon ; 
yet  children  of  the  same  parents  do  undoubtedly 
resemble  one  another,  and  Nature's  store  is  the  most 
inexhaustible !  So  one  concludes  it  had  to  be,  and 
that  particular  motif  is  only  one  of  the  many  that 
frolic  together  in  this  movement.  I  could  kiss  the 
second  subject,!  and  all  the  sweet  tangle  after  it. 
It  is  so  pretty  the  first  time  it  comes,  clever  the 
second,  and  irresistible  after  the  development  (which 
one  wishes  had  been  longer),  where  it  comes  twisting 
in  again  upon  D.t  What  movement  and  swing  there 
is  in  it  all;  what  a  tempo  in  the  development;  and 
how  youthful  and  charming  every  detail !  The  person 
who  invented  it  all  must  have  felt  very  light-hearted. 

■^  Op.  Ill,  p.  48,  bar  9.  +  p.  40,  bar  15. 

X  Op.  Ill,  p.  48,  bar  9. 


THE  B  MAJOR  TRIO  389 

One  feels  you  must  have  been  celebrating — say,  your 
thirtieth  birthday! 

We  get  pleasure  out  of  it  anyway,  when  you  give 
us  anything  so  charming,  and  rejoice  that  we  have 
youthful  hearts  to  enjoy  what  your  youthful  heart 
creates. 

I  was  strangely  affected  by  the  old-new  trio.* 
Something  within  me  protested  against  the  remodel- 
ling. I  felt  you  had  no  right  to  intrude  your  master- 
touch  on  this  lovable,  if  sometimes  vague,  production 
of  your  youth.  I  decided  it  could  not  possibly  be  a 
success,  because  no  one  is  the  same  after  all  that  time, 
and  I  might  have  to  sing  a  lament :  *  Es  war  ein  Duft, 
es  war  ein  Glanz!\ 

I  therefore  made  a  point  of  not  looking  at  the  *  old ' 
trio  beforehand.  I  had  forgotten  many  parts  of  it, 
and  did  not  know  where  the  new  Brahms  joined  on, 
as  I  never  notice  what  the  papers  say.  However,  I 
recognized  your  inset  in  the  first  movement  instantly X 
was  completely  disarmed,  and  played  on  in  a  transport 
of  delight.  It  is  beautiful  in  its  present  form,  and  I 
gladly  leave  it  to  the  musical  philologues  to  remon- 
strate with  you.  They  are  more  concerned  with  the 
date  of  a  thing  than  the  thing  itself — by  which  I  mean 
no  allusion  to  our  quite  unpetrified  Spitta !  The 
Adagio  has  gained  wonderfully  in  smoothness  by  the 
contraction,  and  the  glorious,  stately  stride  of  the 
principal  subject  has  lost  nothing  of  its  fascination. 
In  the  Scherzo,  where  probably  the  least  alteration 
has  been  made,  we  admire  the  amazingly  clear  accen- 

*  Op.  8  (c/.  Letter  247,  note). 

t  Quotation  from  the  song  Heimwch  (Brahms,  Op.  63,  No.  9). 
\  P.  4,  bar  8  of  original  edition.     The  principal  alterations  were 
made  in  the  development  section. 


390  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

tuation  of  the  original  intention.  In  short,  who  would 
not  welcome  this  piece,  with  its  wise  face  and  its 
youthful  complexion  ? 

*  Nun  kann  man's  zweimal  lesen, 
Wie  gut  ist  das  gewesen  !' 

Farewell  for  to-day,  dear,  dear  Friend,  and  let  us 
thank  you  sincerely  for  letting  us  see  your  glorious 
things.  Do  send  them  again  soon — above  all  the 
quintet,  with  the  parts — to  Joachim  as  soon  as  pos- 
sible. 

Hermine  Spies  is  said  to  have  sung  particularly 
well  yesterday.  I  see  and  hear  nothing,  but  stay 
inside  my  shell,  and  do  not  grieve  overmuch.  I  find 
the  most  entertainment  at  home,  after  all. — Your  old 
friend  and  admirer, 

Elisabet  Herzogenberg. 


252.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg, 

[Vienna,  October  27,  1890.] 

As  I  am  sending  off  a  rather  audaciously  bulky 
letter,  I  will  anticipate  or  follow  it  up  by  a  few  words 
to  introduce  young  Prohaska  to  you.  I  can  recom- 
mend him  warmly,  although  my  own  acquaintance 
with  him  is,  unfortunately,  very  slight. 

But  you  will  soon  see  for  yourself  I  hope  he  will 
prove  a  pupil  after  your  own  heart. 

Please  see  in  both  pupil  and  parcel  expression  of 
my  good-will. — With  kindest  regards, 

J.  Br. 


QUINTET  IN  G  391 

Invoice.* 


and — I von- 


Received  herewith 

Ac  per  bill 
Express  order... 
Oil  approval 
Further  orders  ? 
Cop3^  for  review !  ? 


I  Triolettchen 
I  Quinkelei^ 


^  Parts  not  available. 


253.  Herzogen  berg  to  Br  ah  ms. 

Berlin,  Odober  31,  1890. 

Dearest  Friend, — Our  delight  at  receiving  such  a 
glorious  sign  of  life  from  you  was  indeed  great,  and 
would  have  been  greater  had  we  at  least  some  hope 
and  prospect  of  seeing  the  parts  of  the  exquisite 
quintet. J  As  it  is,  we  have  to  keep  it  to  ourselves, 
and  absorb  it  greedily  a  deux.  You  don't  know  what 
a  pleasure  it  would  have  been  to  take  it  to  Joachim 
at  once.  But,  really,  may  he  not  have  it  for  the 
Kammermusik  ?  Won't  you  lend  your  sanction  ? — 
for  our  sakes  and  for  his !  His  enthusiasm  for  your 
music  is  so  young  and  vigorous.  Only  two  days  ago 
he  gave  his  fine  audience  a  perfect   performance   of 

*  The  appended  invoice  was  enclosed  in  a  parcel  of  music  con- 
taining the  B  major  trio  {Triolettchen)  and  the  G  major  quintet 
{Qiiinkclei).  The  words  crossed  out  in  the  left-hand  column  were 
scored  through  with  blue  pencil. 

t  'To  H.  [German  name  for  B  natural]  and  E.  von  H.' — Tr. 

X  Op.  III. 


392  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

the  F  major  quintet,  displaying  all  its  beauties  more 
convincingly  than  ever. 

This  most  affecting  mark  of  your  favour  makes  us 
uncomfortable  in  relation  to  him.  Can  nothing  be 
done? 

My  wife  intended  playing  the  trio*  yesterday,  but 
the  old  breathing  difficulty  prevented  her.  We  under- 
stand the  scheme  of  the  alterations  now,  though  we 
silently  mourn  one  or  two  lost  favourites — the  second 
subject  in  the  first  movement,  for  instance. 

To-morrow  I  go  to  Leipzig  to  help  to  bury  that 
dear  little  old  lady,  Frau  Hauptmann.t 

I  have  various  things  to  do  before  then,  and  must 
leave  my  wife  to  finish.  She  will  be  eloquent  in 
thanking  you  for  the  great  pleasure  you  have  given  us. 

I  am  most  eager  to  see  the  new  pupil.  It  so  happens 
that  I  have  just  an  hour  free  for  him.  Our  natives 
are  not  good  for  much,  so  I  welcome  every  foreigner. — 
Most  sincerely  yours,  Herzogenberg. 


254.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  December,  1890.] 

Just  the  hastiest  line  for  to-day !  I  may  assume  that 
you  will  be  there  when  they  try  the  quintet  ? 

I  want  you  to  ask  Joachim  for  my  last  letter  to  him, 
as  my  remarks  and  queries  with  reference  to  the 
beginning  of  the  piece  are  addressed  as  much  to  you 
as  to  him.  I  should  be  very  glad  if  you  would  listen 
critically,  and  write  me  frankly  what  you  think.f 

*  The  revised  trio  in  B,  Op.  8. 
•j-  Widow  of  Moritz  Hauptmann. 

%  It  was  a  question  of  whether  the  'cello,  which  has  the  principal 
subject  in  the  first  movement,  would  be  heard  clearly  through  the 


QUINTET  IN  G  393 

And  now  a  second  hasty  line  to  thank  you  for  your 
too  kind  letter,  and  the  printed  matter  accompanying 
it,  which  I  have  not  yet  read.* 

I  wish  I  could  express  my  thanks  by  showing  you 
my  treasures  from  the  Keller  literary  remains.t 

I  will  enclose  one  small  sample,  which  you  can  send 

back  after  the  rehearsals  of  the  quintet. — Yours  very 

sincerely, 

J.  Br. 


255.  Elisabet  von  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms, 

[Berlin]  December  16,  1890. 

Dearest  Friend, — After  the  Kammermusik  the  other 
day,  where  we  heard  your  quintet,  I  begged  Joachim  for 
another  look  at  the  score.  It  only  came  in  the  evening, 
however,  and  I  had  to  despatch  it  by  the  last  post,  so 

semiquaver  accompaniment  {forte)  of  the  other  instruments,  especially 
as  a  counter-melody  of  some  importance  begins  in  the  third  bar. 
The  first  performance  of  the  piece  was  on  November  ii  in  Vienna, 
at  one  of  Arnold  Rose's  chamber-music  evenings.  Hummer,  the 
'celhst,  despaired  of  making  himself  heard,  in  spite  of  the  broad, 
vigorous  tone  for  which  he  was  famous,  and  Sigmund  Bachrich,  the 
first  viola  player,  had  the  courage  to  point  out  to  Brahms  the  necessity 
for  some  modification  in  the  tone  of  the  others.  After  playing  the 
quintet  in  Berlin  on  December  ii,  Joachim  wrote  to  Brahms:  'And 
now  the  desired  report  as  to  the  opening  passage.  After  trying  it  in 
various  ways,  we  came  back  to  your  original  version,  except  for  a 
slight  modification  of  the  forte  from  the  end  of  the  second  bar, 
increasing  the  tone  again  later.' 

*  New  compositions  of  Herzogenberg's. 

t  Professor  Adolf  Exner,  successor  to  Jhering  at  Vienna  University, 
had  handed  over  to  Brahms  the  delightful  correspondence  between 
Jhering,  his  sister  Marie  Frisch,  and  Gottfried  Keller,  to  look  through 
before  it  was  incorporated  in  Jakob  Baechthold's  Life  of  Keller 
(vol.  iii.).  Brahms  was  so  delighted  with  Keller's  lively  wit  that  he 
would  spend  whole  afternoons  reading  out  extracts  to  his  friends  in 
Vienna,  and  even  copied  out  some  for  his  own  use. 


394  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

could  not,  as  I  intended,  write  to  you  about  it  at  once. 
Instead  of  looking  thoroughly  into  every  detail  that 
had  impressed  me  on  hearing  it,  I  employed  the  short 
time  I  had  in  strumming  bits  of  the  glorious  piece 
and  impressing  the  Adagio  on  my  memory.  How 
beautiful,  how  impressive  it  is,  how  entirely  satisfying 
in  sound^  how  luminously  clear  by  virtue  of  its  neat 
proportions !  It  must  take  possession  of  all  who  have 
ears  to  hear  and  hearts  to  feel.  You  know  already 
how  we  delight  in  the  whole  work,  but  you  will  not 
be  angry  if  I  favour  the  two  middle  movements, 
because  I  recognise  in  them  such  perfect  unity  of 
emotion,  vigour,  and  effect.  I  find  it  hard  to  accustom 
myself  to  the  sound  of  certain  parts  of  the  first  move- 
ment, and  had  conceived  of  it  as  sunnier  from  reading 
the  score.  The  character  of  the  principal  theme  hardly 
seems  to  me  to  demand  the  tranquil  treatment  you 
give  it.  A  broken  chord  of  the  six-four  is,  after  all, 
nothing  wildly  uncivilized,  and  you  make  it  so  hard 
for  the  poor  'cello  to  penetrate.  Either  the  four  others 
make  spasmodic  efforts  to  restrain  themselves  for  fear 
of  drowning  the  'cello  in  his  role  as  leader,  or  he  must 
scrape  mercilessly  to  make  himself  heard,  and  the 
effect  is  worse  than  ever.  The  original  version  is 
undoubtedly  the  best,  but  the  accompanying  instru- 
ments must  on  no  consideration  exceed  a  mezzo-forte. 
But  could  you  not,  dear  master,  make  this  passage 
more  beautiful  ?  The  continuation  is  so  very  beautiful. 
Must  we  be  tested  a  little  before  you  dazzle  us  w^ith 
the  second  subject  and  its  glorious  introductory  bars?* 
The  opening  of  the  development  is  indescribably  fine, 
with  its  powerful  Bach-like  progressions  :  F,  E|?,  D(?, 
C,  and  G,  F,  E|^,  D.     How  Joachim  and   Hausmann 

*  Op.  Ill,  p.  5,  bars. 


QUINTET  IN  G  395 

looked  at  each  other  there,  and  what  a  blissful  moment 
it  was  for  us  all !  Later,  at  the  close  of  the  develop- 
ment,* the  'cello  groans  again — that  is,  Hausmann  7tever 
does  (even  though  one  hears  all  wood  and  no  strings 
after  a  time,  which  he  is  too  hotly  engaged  to  notice) ; 
but  the  instrument  itself  gives  signs  of  protest  against 
the  exorbitant  demands  made  on  it.  I  venture  to  think, 
in  all  humility,  that  a  person  like  you  ought  to  write 
nothing  which  is  not  absolutely  pleasing — not  only  to 
the  mind,  but  to  the  ear. 

Please  do  not  scold  this  saucy  person !  You  did 
send  us  a  'copy  for  review,'  you  know.f  My  gratitude 
and  my  immense  delight  in  this  glorious  new  work 
were  marred  at  times  by  a  certain  disappointment  in 
the  actual  sound,  not,  of  course,  in  the  middle  move- 
ments, which  are  moulded  entirely  out  of  silver  and 
gold  ;  and  as  to  the  last — well,  you  zvanted  to  be  harsh, 
witty,  clever,  and  a  trifle  riotous  there,  and  so  the 
occasional  harshness  in  the  sound  is  justifiable.  But 
the  first  movement  I  Reading  it  was  like  feeling 
spring  breezes ;  hearing  it,  they  became  equinoctial 
gales,  which  you  do  get  in  March,  it  is  true — but  then 
March  is  not  spring! J 

Dear  Barometer-Man  on  your  Magic  Island, §  do 
show  a  little  more  clemency.  Go  over  those  few 
places  again  with  a  soft  stump,  as  if  it  were  a  charcoal 
drawing,  and   smear   it   over,  tone    it   down  a  little ! 

*  P.  14,  bar  3. 

t  Cf.  Letter  252,  '  invoice.' 

X  '  Brahms  on  the  Prater '  would  be  an  ideal  inscription  for  this 
quintet,  which  smacks  both  of  Vienna  and  the  North.  A  friend 
suggested  it  to  Brahms  after  a  rehearsal,  and  Brahms  promptly 
replied,  '  You've  hit  it  !'  adding,  with  a  sly  smile,  '  And  all  the  pretty 
girls  there,  eh  ?' 

§  Title  of  a  play  by  Ferdinand  Raimund. 


396  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

That  high,  scratchy  part  in  F  minor  (I  think),  near 
the  end  of  the  development,*  really  sounds  anything 
but  beautiful.  It  is  so  laboured,  whereas  everything  in 
this  movement  ought  to  sound  beautiful. 

Thank  you  for  sending  the  enclosed  poem,  which 
is  very  affecting.f  By  way  of  thanks,  I  should  like 
to  send  Heinrich's  latest  piece,  which  seems  to  me 
particularly  good.  It  is  a  Latin  Requiem  for  chorus 
and  orchestra^ — without  solos,  thank  Heaven!  But 
there  is  none  of  it  here,  as  he  is  doing  it  in  a  concert 
at  Leipzig  in  March.  I  flatter  myself  you  would  like 
it,  and  am  most  anxious  to  hear  your  opinion.  Heinrich 
wrote  it  this  winter,  in  an  incredibly  short  time,  and 
that  is  perhaps  why  it  seems  like  the  result  of  one 
inspiration — flowing,  melodious,  and  well  written  for 
chorus  singing,  or  so  we  hope ! 

Farewell  for  to-day,  and  thank  you  once  more  for 
the  strengthening,  precious  gift  of  the  quintet.  I  wish 
I  could  close  as  effectively  as  you  when  you  sing — 


p*l=*=f=t^ 


That  F,  coming  in  previously  there,  is  too  beautiful ! 

And  so  on  ! — Your  admiring 

E.  H. 

*  Op.  Ill,  p.  12,  bar  9  (?). 

t  A  poem  by ,  which  had  been  placed  between  the  leaves  of 

the  Adagio  by  the  author,  to  whom  Brahms  had  lent  the  score.  It 
went  to  Berlin,  and  was  returned  in  due  course,  Brahms's  attention 
being  at  last  drawn  to  it  by  Frau  von  Herzogenberg. 

\  Herzogenberg's  Requiem  for  four-part  chorus  and  orchestra, 
Op.  72. 

§  Op.  Ill,  Adagio,  p.  27,  bar  8. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  COMPOSITIONS    397 

256.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg, 

[Vienna,  January  lo,  1891.] 

Forgive  me  if  I  only  send  this  brief  acknowledgment 

of  your  parcel   to-day.     I  have  long  wanted   to  ask 

you  to  send  me  these  tokens  of  your  industry  more 

frequently.    I  could  really  envy  you  your  industrious- 

ness,  your  youth,  your  joy  in  life  and  in  work !     I 

hope  you  will  thoroughly  enjoy  the  Leipzig  concert.* — 

Sincerely  yours, 

J.Br. 

257.  Brahms  to  Elisabet  von  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  February,  1891.] 

Dearest  Lady, — I  have  not  deserved  a  letter,  and 
am  not  setting  out  to  deserve  one  to-day,  but  you 
might  have  sent  me  a  paper  or  a  programme  from 
which  I  could  glean  what  manner  of  thing  the  Konigs- 
psalm,\  is!  Also  I  should  have  been  glad  of  a  line  to 
say  whether  you  enjoyed  Leipzig  and  the  Leipzigers. 
I  would  dispense  with  other  charming  details,  such  as 
how  many  sandwiches  were  consumed  during  the 
rehearsal,  how  many  stockings  knitted  (as  under 
RiedelJ  of  blessed  memory  I),  what  words  of  wisdom 
— let  fall,  etc. 

What  I  really  must  know  is  whether  Herr  Astor  is 
bestirring  himself  !§ 

*  Herzogenber^'s  Requiem  was  performed  at  the  Thomaskirche, 
Leipzig,  on  February  22,  with  great  success. 

t  Herzogenberg's  psalm.  Op.  71,  for  chorus  and  orchestra,  written 
in  honour  of  the  Kaiser's  birthday,  was  performed  on  the  same 
evening  as  the  Requiem. 

X  Karl  Riedel  (1827-1888).     Cf.  Letter  121. 

§  In  bringing  out  Herzogenberg's  compositions. 


398  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  look  on  at  your  wonderful  energy  and  your  pleasant 
circle  of  serious-minded,  seriously-interested  people 
with  envious  approval.  Unfortunately,  one  or  other 
of  you  is  always  having  to  lie  up ! 

We  do  not  follow  your  example  in  either  respect 
here,  but  read  and  trifle  away  our  spare  time — witness 
the  enclosed  !* 

But  do  let  me  hear  something  by  one  means  or 
another. — With  kindest  regards,  yours  sincerely, 

J.Br. 

258.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Berlin,  February  28,  1891.] 

Dearest  Friend, — I  was  on  the  point  of  dipping 
my  pen  to  thank  you  for  the  trio  and  quintet  t  w^hen 
your  letter  arrived  with  all  the  questions  and  the  gay 
canons. 

My  wife's  recovery  is  slower  this  time  than  ever 
before.  She  has  been  in  bed  six  weeks,  and  the  doctor 
cannot  convince  himself  whether  this  inertia  is  a  good 
or  a  bad  sign.  I  will  spare  such  a  brilliantly  healthy 
specimen  as  yourself  a  description  of  her  symptoms, 
and  will  only  say  that  they  are  of  a  serious,  if  not 
precisely  dangerous,  order.  She  sends  kindest  mes- 
sages and  many  flattering  remarks  about  my  Requiem  ; 
the  latter  I  am  suppressing,  as  she  is,  for  the  first  time 
in  twenty-two  years,  inclined  to  depart  from  her  usual 
impersonal  standpoint.  Those  were  delightful  days 
at  Leipzig,  in  spite  of  the  melancholy  nature  of  the 
piece  and  the  anxiety  I  felt  about  my  wife.     You  will 

*  The  manuscript  of  Thirteen  Canons  for  Women's  Voices,  published 
by  Peters  in  1891. 

t  The  trio  (B  major)  and  quintet  (G  major)  had  been  published  in 
between  by  Simrock. 


HERZOGENBERG'S  REQUIEM  399 

be  most  interested  to  hear  that  my  perspiring  efforts 
at  all  the  rehearsals  and  performances  were,  to  the 
surprise  of  my  friends,  as  vigorous  as  could  be  desired, 
and  were  carried  out  with  the  endurance  and  ease  of 
an  acrobat.  The  performance  was  excellent.  They 
say  the  acoustic  properties  of  the  new  Thomaskirche* 
are  splendid ;  indeed,  Spitta  and  Hausmann  are  quite 
envious.  The  piece  is  too  good  to  have  good  notices, 
but  I  would  gladly  send  it  you  in  one  form  or  the  other 
if  by  so  doing  I  can  squeeze  from  you  another  of  those 
rare,  precious,  attar-of-roses  drops  with  which  I  have 
periodically  reprieved  my  artistic  career.  Konigs- 
psalm  is  the  title  of  a  composition  written  for  the 
Kaiser's  birthday,  such  as  every  *  academic 'f  has  to 
produce  in  his  turn.  I  will  not  deny  that  I  found  a 
strong  incentive  in  being  commissioned  to  do  something 
within  a  given  time  for  once.  It  is  a  good  index  to 
the  general  level  of  one's  productive  powers.  If  it 
turns  out  passably  well,  one  knows  how  one  stands 
as  regards  technique. 

That  you  should  spot  my  furtive  literary  efforts  f 
only  proves  the  incredible  range  of  your  reading. 
You  of  course,  like  all  musicians,  will  think  me  too 
learned,  while  learned  people  do  me  the  greater  com- 
pliment of  thinking  me  too  musical.  So  there  I  am, 
between  two  stools,  a  position  I  do  not  propose  to 
maintain  any  longer  than  I  am  compelled. 

The  adaptability  of  the  older  to  the  younger  Brahms 
in  the  2nd,  3rd,  and  4th  movements  of  the  trio  is 
simply  amazing.     In  the  ist  I  cannot  get  rid  of  the 

*  The  old  Thomaskirche  had  just  been  thoroughly  renovated. 

t  An  allusion  to  his  election  to  membership  of  the  Royal  Academy 
of  Arts. 

X  Herzogenberg  had  published  an  essay  on  Bischoff's  Harmonic- 
lehre  in  the  Vierieljahrsschrift  fur  Musikwissenschaft  (1891,  p.  267). 


400  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

impression  of  its  being  a  collaboration  between  two 
masters  who  are  no  longer  quite  on  a  level.  It  is 
probably  my  own  fault,  for  I  still  shed  a  tear  each 
time  for  the  dear  departed  E  major  subject.* 

I  wonder  what  you  are  meditating  next.     Can  it  be 

an  opera,  after  all  ?    I  must  really  ask .f — Kindest 

regards  from  us  both.     Your  sincerest  admirer, 

Herzogenberg. 


259.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  29,  1891.] 

...  If  I  had  not  abjured  letter-writing  long  ago, 
I  would  fire  off  a  long  epistle  to  Spitta,  thanking  him 
for  his  fine  essay  on  the  Requiem  J  and  his  last  volume 
of  Schutz,  in  which  I  am  revelling.  Do  at  least  tell 
him  that  no  one  is  more  sincerely  and  gratefully 
appreciative  of  the  fruits  of  his  industry  and  learning 
than  I. 

My  customary  little  grievance  as  to  those  confounded 


clefs         IMI      -    and       O:       ^   is  mitigated  this  time 


WW 

n 


*  Omitted  by  Brahms  in  the  new  edition. 

t  Some  busybody,  who  professed  to  know  all  about  Brahms  and 
his  plans. 

%  Spitta  took  Herzogenberg's  Requiem  as  a  basis  for  a  historical 
critical  essay  on  Musikalische  Seeletimessen,  afterwards  incorporated 
in  his  book  Zur  Musik  (Paetel,  1892). 

§  Spitta,  in  his  edition  of  the  works  of  Heinrich  Schiitz  (1585-1672), 
had  retained  the  original  clefs,  thereby  rendering  the  score  more 
difficult  to  read.  Brahms  always  advocated  the  use  of  the  soprano, 
alto,  and  tenor  clefs,  and  used  them  in  his  own  vocal  scores ;  but  the 
mezzo-soprano  and  baritone  clefs  (as  above)  he  considered  obsolete, 
detesting  them  accordingly.  He  drew  a  sharp  distinction  between 
what  he  called  '  antiquarian  fads  '  and  '  musical  necessity.'  A  vocal 
score  written  in  four  clefs  gave  him  a  much  clearer  idea  than  the 


HERZOGENBERG'S  REQUIEM  401 

by  the  possibility  of  transposing  some  of  the  numbers 
into  readable  positions,  No.  7  into  three  sharps,  and 
so  on. 

If  you  send  a  word  in  reply  to  this,  add  a  good 
many  on  the  subject  of  your  dear  wife's  health.  It 
is  no  good  asking  her. — With  kindest  regards  to  you 
both,  yours, 

J.  Br. 

260.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  April  30,  1891. 

.  .  .  The  Leipzig  Bachverein  is  doing  my  Requiem 
for  the  second  time  on  May  1 1^\  What  a  pity  it  cannot 
be  transferred  to  Brunn — when  I  should  like  someone 
I  know  to  be  present !  Unfortunately,  we  cannot  yet 
count  on  my  wife's  being  able  to  go.  Although  she  is 
much  better  on  the  whole,  her  condition  is  so  uncertain 
that  we  cannot  make  any  plans,  and  least  of  all  run 
the  risk  of  exposing  her  to  the  boisterous  welcome 
of  our  Leipzig  friends. 

I  shall  pass  on  your  kind  and  encouraging  messages 
to  Spitta  at  once.  He  can  do  with  that  sort  of  thing 
now  and  again.  To  me,  too,  this  book  of  madrigals* 
seems  much  more  accessible  and  interesting  than 
many  of  the  earlier  ones.  The  things  sound  really 
exquisite ;  Adolf  Schulzef  is  rehearsing  them  with 
the   greatest  care.     You  really  learn  to  respect   the 

modern  contraction  of  two  (treble  and  bass),  and  he  defended  his 
preference  even  against  his  pubhshers,  who  would  have  preferred  to 
meet  the  public  convenience  in  the  matter. 

*  II  primo  libro  dei  Madrigali  (1611),  by  Heinrich  Schiitz. 

t  Adolf  Schulze  (b.  1835),  singer,  professor  of  singing  at  the 
Hochschule,  Berlin. 

26 


402  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

man  when  you  see  him  in  his  element  conducting 
a  capella  choruses. 

I  don't  know  yet  what  we  shall  attempt  this  summer. 
I  shall  probably  go — alone  this  time — to  Sylt  again 
for  part  of  August.  It  has  such  a  wonderfully 
strengthening  and  lasting  effect  on  me.  It  would 
be  charming  if  you  could  come.  A  silent  ramble  on 
the  bare  heath  is  so  glorious. 

My  wife  sends  kindest  messages. — Yours, 

Herzogenberg. 

261.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  May  2,  1891.] 

Mandyczewski*  will  be  calling  on  you  one  day  soon. 

I  need  not  commend  him  to  your  kindness.     I  should 

be  particularly  glad  if  he  could  attend  Schulze's  choral 

class.     They  have  no  idea  of  that  sort  of  thoroughness 

here,  and  Mandyczewski  would  be  the  man  to  turn 

it  to  profit  for  our  school  later,  perhaps. — With  kindest 

regards,  yours, 

J.Br. 

262.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  May  10,  1891.] 

Many  thanks  for  the  parcel,  which  could  not  have 
arrived  more  opportunely.  Wait  a  minute,  though, 
that  sounds  as  if  I  were  ready  for  a  Requiem  myself! 
No,  indeed,  but  my  boxes  are  already  packed  for  Ischl, 
and  I  can  just  lay  it  nicely  on  the  top.  Once  there 
I  shall  be  able  to  enjoy  the  fruits  of  your  toil,  while  I 
remain  blissfully  idle  myself     I  hear  your  wife  went 

*  Cf.  Letter  150. 


ELISABET'S  DEATH  403 

to  Leipzig  with  you.     In  that  case  she  must  be  better, 

and  you  will  have  a  delicious  time  together.     I  should 

like  to  go  to  the  North  Sea  with  you,  but  my  laziness 

will  probably  keep  me  at  Ischl. 

Kindest  regards  and  best  wishes  for  the  summer 

from  yours, 

J.  Br. 

263.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  January,  1892.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  am  too  much  with  3^ou  in 
thought  to  be  able  to  write.*  It  is  vain  to  attempt 
any  expression  of  the  feelings  that  absorb  me  so 
completely.  And  you  will  be  sitting  alone  in  your 
dumb  misery,  speechless  yourself  and  not  desirous 
of  speech  from  others. 

Be  assured  I  am  full  of  sorrow  and  profoundest 
sympathy  as  I  think  of  you.  I  could  ask  questions 
without  end. 

You  know  how  unutterably  I  myself  suffer  by  the 
loss  of  your  beloved  wife,  and  can  gauge  accordingly 
my  emotions  in  thinking  of  you,  who  were  associated 
with  her  by  the  closest  possible  human  ties. 

As  soon  as  you  feel  at  all  inchned  to  think  of  your- 
self and  others,  let  me  know  how  you  are,  and  how 
and  where  you  intend  to  carry  on  your  own  life. 

It  would  do  me  so  much  good  just  to  sit  beside  you 
quietly,  press  your  hand,  and  share  your  thoughts 
of  the  dear  marvellous  woman. — Your  friend, 

J.  Brahms. 

*  Brahms  had  received  the  news  of  Frau  von  Herzogenberg's 
death  (on  January  7,  1892)  by  telegram.  No  letters  are  in  existence 
between  May  10  and  the  present  one. 

26 — 2 


404  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

264.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

[Florence,  February  2,  1892.] 

My  very  dear  Friend, — It  would  indeed  do  me 
good  to  have  you  sitting  beside  me.  We  have  in 
common  so  many  memories  of  my  precious  wife. 
Did  we  not  always  count  the  times  when  we  were 
all  together  our  best  ?     Leipzig,  Carinthia,  Salzburg, 


-^ 


^ 


and  the  happy  Christmas  days  you  spent  with  us 
at  Zeitzerstrasse — wherever  my  thoughts  wander,  you 
are  woven  into  our  lives  at  any  point  worth  remember- 
ing. And  how  we  lived  on  the  memory  of  those 
occasions  !  You  took  up  so  much  more  space  in  our 
thoughts  than  in  actual  life. 

All  that  we  could  talk  over  by  the  hour — but  you 
must  spare  me  any  account  of  those  cruel  last  weeks. 
Her  sufferings  hurt  me  even  more  now  that  I  have 
no  hope  to  keep  me  up  and  deceive  me.  My  suffering 
has  given  me  no  time  to  realize  my  own  position,  and, 
indeed,  I  have  buried  myself  in  work,  hoping  not  to  be 
aroused  from  it  again. 

I  shall  stay  on  here  into  May,  as  this  real  hermit's 
life  suits  me.  I  see  Hildebrand  now  and  then.  He 
was  like  a  brother  to  me  in  those  dark  days.  Did  you 
hear  of  my  mother-in-law's  death  here  a  week  before 
my  wife's  ?     Neither  knew  of  the  other's  condition.     I 

*  Subject  of  the  violin  sonata,  Op.  78,  which  Brahms  brought  with 
him  in  manuscript  to  Salzburg  in  August,  1878  {cf.  Letters  62 
and  63). 


ELISABET'S  COMPOSITIONS  405 

kept  it  a  secret  from  Lisl.  It  was  horrible,  enough  to 
drive  one  mad ! 

If  you  see  Epstein,  please  tell  him  this,  and  remember 
me  kindly  to  him.  I  shall  not  feel  like  writing  at 
present. 

Are  you  not  coming  to  Italy  this  spring  ?  I  should 
be  so  glad  to  join  you. — Keep  a  little  friendship  for 
yours  ever,  Herzogenberg. 

Via  DEI  Bardi  22. 

265.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  March  6,  1892.] 
In  great  haste — are  you  still  at  the  same  address  ? 
I  may  send  you  two  small  scores?*  Peters  sent  them 
long  ago,  but  I  conclude  they  went  to  Berlin,  and  you 
never  had  them.  Forgive  the  intrusion,  and  look  upon 
it  merely  as  a  means  of  conveying  kindest  greetings. 
— Yours  ever,  \   g^ 

266.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  March  19,  1892.] 

Dearest   Friend, — Thank  you   most   sincerely  for 

your  parcel  of  yesterday.     How  happy  it  must  make 

you    to    distribute    these    beautiful,    affecting    pages 

among   your   friends  !t      What   a   host    of    questions 

*  Thirteen  Canons,  Op.  113. 

t  After  her  death  Herzogenberg  published  Acht  Klavierstuckc,  by 
Ehsabet  von  Herzogenberg,  dedicating  each  of  the  eight  pieces  to 
one  or  other  of  her  friends,  inckiding  Frau  Emma  Engehnann- 
Brandes,  Frau  LiH  Wach  {nee  Mendelssohn- Bartholdy),  Frau  Hed- 
wig  von  Holstein,  Fraulein  Helenc  Hauptmann,  Fraulein  Johanna 
Rontgen,  and  Frau  Clara  Schumann.  No.  6  was  left  without  a 
dedication,  while  No.  7  was  dedicated  to  Frau  Luisc  von  Bezold- 
Engelmann  by  the  composer  before  she  died. 


4o6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

they  raise ! — the  pieces  in  themselves  and,  for  instance, 
the  fact  that  I,  for  one,  had  no  notion  of  their  existence, 
although  I  had  been  told  that  one  or  other  of  your 
songs  might  be  traced  to  your  wife. 

I  look  through  them  in  vain  (particularly  the  Servian 
songs),  but  cannot  make  up  my  mind  as  to  the  claims  of 
any  one  above  the  rest. 

It  will,  no  doubt,  have  occurred  to  you  to  allow  her 
friends  to  read  extracts  from  her  letters.  I  cherish 
those  I  have  as,  in  the  first  place,  one  of  the  most 
precious  memories  of  my  life,  and  also  for  their  in- 
trinsic qualities  of  wit  and  temperament.  But  their 
appeal  is  personal  to  me.  How  I  should  like  to  see 
how  she  wrote  to  and  of  other  people ! 

My  spring  plans  are  very  much  in  the  background 
this  year.  My  thoughts  hover  about  Florence,  Siena, 
Orvieto,  without  awaking  the  smallest  excitement  in 
response ;  but  if  you  were  going  too,  I  might  rouse 
myself. 

What  do  you  propose  for  the  summer  ?  Will  your 
family  keep  you  in  Austria  ? 

Well,  no  more  to-day. — Sincerest  thanks  and  kindest 

regards  from  yours, 

J.Br. 

267.  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Rome,  Piazza  di  Pietra,  Palazzo  Cini, 
March  12,  1892. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — Peters  did  send  your  latest 
solo  quartets*  and  canons  to  San  Remo,t  but  at  such  a 
time !     You  will,  I  know,  forgive  me  for  not  reverting 

*  Six  quartets  for  soprano,  alto,  tenor,  and  bass,  with  pianoforte 
accompaniment  (Op.  112). 
t  It  was  at  San  Remo  that  his  wife  died. 


ELISABET'S  MONUMENT  407 

to  them.  Now  I  have  something  to  look  forward  to 
when  I  go  back  to  Florence  in  a  few  weeks'  time.  In 
the  end  I  did  turn  lonely  and  nervous,  so  came  over 
to  Rome  about  a  week  ago,  where  my  sister-in-law's* 
family  have  very  kindly  taken  me  in. 

I  just  missed  making  Billroth's  daughter's!  acquaint- 
ance at  Dr.  Fleischl'sl  the  other  day,  but  still  hope  to 
meet  her  and  Frau  Quidde,  who  was  also  present, 
sometime.  It  was  a  large,  dark,  crowded  drawing- 
room,  where  I  felt  like  a  man  in  a  dream. 

Simrock  has  just  sent  the  trio  and  quintet,?  so  I 
will  not  write  any  more  to-day,  but  will  fall  to  on  the 
music  like  a  tiger.  Thank  you  for  keeping  me  so  well 
in  mind,  you  kind  person ! — Yours, 

Herzogenberg. 


268.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Rome,  Piazza  di  Pietra,  Palazzo  Cini, 
March  21,  1892. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — To  avoid  'dodging  each 
other  round  and  round  '  (as  in  Leander's  fairy-tales),|| 
I  will  give  you  my  plans  for  next  month.  They  are 
open  to  variation  here  and  there,  but  not  where  other 
people's  arrangements  would  suffer. 

The  beginning  of  April  will  find  me  in  Florence 
again,  partly  to  see  about  the  monument  Hildebrand 

*  Frau  Henry  Bennet-Brewster. 

t  Fraulein  Else  Billroth,  a  talented  amateur  musician,  pupil  of 
Stockhausen,  living  in  Vienna. 

X  Otto  von  Fleischl,  doctor  in  Rome. 

§  Clarinet  trio,  Op.  114,  and  clarinet  quintet,  Op.  115,  composed  at 
Ischl  in  the  summer  of  1891. 

II  Trdumcreicn  an  franzcsische  Kamincn,  by  Richard  Leander 
(v,  Volkman). 


408  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

is  designing,*  partly  to  meet  the  Fiedlers,  who  are 
coming  there  in  the  spring.  I  shall  be  there  the 
greater  part  of  May  also ;  go  to  Palanza,  by  way  of 
San  Remo,  to  see  Frau  Schumann  at  the  end  of  the 
month,  then  higher  up  to  Heiden,t  to  get  my  house 
arranged.  There  I  remain  until  the  autumn  ;  I  shall 
probably  winter  in  Berlin. 

How  I  should  like  to  join  you  in  your  quiet  ex- 
cursions in  Tuscany !  Orvieto  I  don't  know  at  all ; 
Siena  and  Valterra  only  from  flying  visits.  Although 
the  world  seems  but  a  dream  to  me,  it  is,  after  all,  a 
lovely  dream — as,  for  instance,  yesterday  at  Tivoli. 

I  am  more  glad  than  I  can  say  that  you  approve  of 
my  publishing  the  piano  pieces.^  It  was  more  a 
labour  of  love  than  anything  I  ever  did.  I  had  to 
reproduce  some  of  them  from  memory,  which  cost 
me  some  far  from  easy  but  very  affecting  hours.  The 
only  one  among  my  songs  that  Lisl  wrote  is  Op.  44, 
No.  7.  I  had  intended  editing  some  of  hers,  but  gave 
it  up  when  I  saw  how  much  I  should  have  to  do  to 
them.  Some  day  I  will  show  you  them.  There  is  a 
good  deal  of  temperament  in  some  of  them,  and  the 
harmonies  are  clever  and  ingenious  at  times.  The 
piano  pieces  were  much  more  finished.  I  did 
practically  nothing  to  them. 

The  two  clarinet  pieces  are  still  growing  on  me. 
So  far  I  fail  to  see  why  the  quintet  should  be  pre- 
ferred to  the  trio ;  perhaps  it  was  merely  the  fact  of 

*  Hildebrand's  fine  monument  is  carried  out  in  early  Renaissance 
style,  and  represents  St.  Cecilia  (with  the  features  of  Frau  von 
Herzogenberg)  seated  at  the  organ. 

t  In  the  canton  of  Appenzell,  on  Lake  Constance,  where  Herzogen- 
berg had  built  a  house,  Zum  Abendrot. 

\  Cf.  Letter  266,  note. 


EIGHTH  ITALIAN  TOUR  409 

their  appearing  simultaneously  that  set  everyone  to 
work  on  these  everlasting  comparisons.  I  Hke  them 
both  equally  much,  and  can  imagine  how  splendidly 
the  instruments  must  blend.  It  is  so  essentially  j^ight^ 
too,  that  you  should  have  assigned  the  clarinet  an 
*  antiphonal '  part.  The  effect  must  have  justified  you 
amply. 

To-day  the  De  Sanctis^  are  giving  us  the  F  major 
Rasumofskyt  by  way  of  a  novelty.  They  play  it  very 
decently,  but,  strange  to  say,  with  ever -increasing 
caution.     Perhaps  they  are  afraid  to  let  themselves  go. 

Farewell,  and  be  as  nice  to  me  as  ever !     I  shall 

soon   hear  more  of  your  plans,  I   suppose. — Always 

yours, 

Herzogenberg. 


269.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  April  5,  1893.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  quite  expect  to  be  here  still  on  the 
loth,  but  that  is  the  latest,  I  think,  as  I  am  to  meet 
some  friends  at  Genoa  for  Sicily.J 

Let  me  know  soon  precisely  when  you  are  coming, 
and  where  you  will  stay,  so  that  I  and  some  others 

■*  Probably  a  Roman  quartet  society. 

t  Beethoven's  quartet,  Op.  59,  No.  i. — Tr. 

X  This  was  Brahms's  eighth  and  last  Italian  tour.  He  started  on 
April  13,  meeting  his  travelling  companions,  Josef  Victor  Widmann, 
of  Berne,  and  Dr.  Friedrich  Hegar  and  the  pianist  Robert  Freund, 
both  of  Zurich,  at  Milan,  from  whence  they  went  to  Genoa.  The 
journey  to  Sicily  was  originally  to  have  been  made  by  boat,  but 
Brahms  did  not  care  for  long  sea-journeys,  and  finally  decided  to  go 
by  train.  On  the  way  they  stopped  at  Naples,  Sorrento,  Palermo, 
Girgenti,  Catania,  Syracuse,  Taormina,  Messina,  Naples,  and  Venice. 
Brahms  was  back  in  Vienna  on  the  loth  {cf.  Widmann,  Johannes 
Brahms,  p.  163). 


4IO  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

may  look  forward  to  it,  and  arrange  for  more  pleasant 
meetings. 

But  you  must  put  Utrecht  out  of  your  mind  while 
you  are  here;  I  heard  such  a  pleasant  account  of  your 
visit  there  from  the  Engelmanns. 

In  any  case,  let  me  know  soon.  —  With  kindest 
regards,  j    ^^ 

270.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin,  February  14,  1894. 

Dear  Friend, — I  wanted  to  write  as  soon  as  I  heard 
of  Billroth's  death,*  but  never  got  it  done.  I  want 
you  to  know  how  much  I  thought  about  you;  up  to 
this  you  can  at  most  only  have  guessed.  I  know  what 
Billroth  was  to  you.  It  was  his  personality  which 
dominated — peopled — your  whole  world,  for  one  can 
put  up  with  practically  everybody,  given  the  con- 
sciousness of  one  deep  friendship.  And  now,  what 
a  gap !  Why  not  emigrate — to  Berlin,  where  your 
banner  is  sturdily  upheld  by  *  Seven  Righteous  Men  '?t 

I  shall  see  Frau  Schumann  next  Monday  at  Frank- 
furt, which  I  have  a  fancy  to  visit.  They  say  she  is 
very  gay,  and  plays  with  all  her  former  vigour  and 
delight.     God  preserve  this  dear  soul  to  us  ! 

I  have  just  seen  Billow's  death  t  in  the  paper.  He 
had  many  warnings,  and  must  have  been  prepared ; 
yet  it  came  suddenly  in  the  end,  and  in  a  strange 
country,  which  was  hard  on  his  poor  wife !  Poor 
comet !  what  will  the  orphaned  comet's  tail  do  without 

*  Theodor  Billroth  died  February  6,  1894,  at  Abbazia. 

t  Title  of  one  of  Gottfried  Keller's  Ziiricher  Novellen.  The  seven 
alluded  to  are  probably  Herzogenberg,  Joachim,  Hausmann,  Spitta, 
Barth,  Rudorff,  and  Adolf  Schulze. 

I  Hans  von  Biilow  died  at  Cairo  on  February  12,  1894. 


DEATH  OF  BULOW  411 

its  leader,  who  was,  after  all,  a  glorious  compound  of 
talent  and  strength  of  will !  He  always  put  his  whole 
heart  and  soul  into  everything;  even  if  the  aim  was 
wrong,  his  motives  were  sincere.     May  he  find  rest ! 

I  have  at  last  purchased  your  glorious  Klavierstucke* 
and  ordered  the  entertaining  fifty-one  finger-torturers. t 
I  am  looking  forward  to  hearing  Frau  Schumann  play 
my  favourites.  She  was  singing  their  praises  in  the 
summer  at  Interlaken.  This  set  of  pieces  is  apparently 
easy,  but  we  ordinary  mortals  find  ourselves  at  a  stand- 
still once  we  have  passed  the  reading  stage.  I  really 
felt  as  if  I  could  play  the  glorious  ballade  |  once  or 
twice,  and  do  wish  I  could.  Indeed,  I  spend  my  days 
in  silence  now;  if  I  did  not  keep  up  my  old  dull 
routine  of  work,  the  neighbours  might  easily  take  me 
for  a  painter  or  engraver,  for  all  the  noise  I  make. 

Shall  you  not  pass  through  here  as  you  did  last 
year?  Or  at  least  through  Heiden,  where  we  shall 
settle  down  in  the  beginning  of  May  ?  My  heart  is 
open  to  you.— Yours,  Herzogenberg. 

271.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  February  14,  1894.] 

Dear  Friend, — The  rest  another  time — particularly 
as  you  are  just  off  on  your  travels !  This  is  merely  to 
say  that  you  need  not  buy  my  things ;  as  it  is,  I  behave 
shabbily  enough,  considering  the  things  you  and  Ritter 
shower  upon  me.  Who  is  responsible  this  time  I 
know  not — Simrock  is  too  good  a  man  of  business  ! 

*  Op.  118  and  119. 

+  Finger   exercises,    published    in    1893    without    opus    number 
{cf.  Letters  21,  77-79). 
X  Op.  118,  No.  3. 


412  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

Well,  bon  voyage^  and  remember  me  most  kindly  to 
Frau  Schumann. 

The  supplementary  and  superfluous  copies  will 
come  in  nicely  for  one  of  your  dear  young  ladies 
(Frauleins  Radecke  or  Spitta  ?) — Ever  yours, 

J.  Br. 

272.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Vienna,  February  22,  1894.] 

Dear  Friend, — I  am  again  writing  in  haste  merely 

to  say  that  I  was  advised  of  the  arrival  of  the  first  lot 

of  my  things  which  I  sent  to  you  at   Florence,  and 

have  not  had  them  returned  through  the  dead  letter 

office.     So  you  see  we  are  innocent.     I  am  very  glad 

that  you  should  know  it,  and  that  you  brought  up  the 

subject  (in  a  shy,  round-the-corner  way). 

Am  I  really  so  uncommunicative  that  it  should  be 

news   to  you  when    I  say  that  it  is  not  friends  like 

Billroth  who  keep  me  here  in  spite  of  everything,  who 

lead  me  to  spend  the  summer  in  Austria  instead  of 

going  to  Switzerland ;  in  spite  of  everything,  I  repeat, 

for  I  am  frequently  deeply  conscious  of  all  that  I  miss  ?* 

— Kindest  regards.     Yours, 

J.   Br. 

273.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin  W.  62,  January  30,  1895. 
Dear  Friend, — We  neither  of  us  like  being  senti- 
mental,   but  we   must   not   sacrifice    another   deeper 
emotion  on  that  account,  and  thus  deprive  ourselves 
of  the  few  precious  moments  life  may  offer.     So  I  will 

*  Brahms  was  chiefly  attracted  to  Austria  and  Vienna  b}^  the 
scenery,  the  city  itself,  and  the  people.  He  was  never  able  to  feel 
so  much  at  home  anywhere  else. 


THE  CLARINET  SONATAS  413 

make  you  a  regular  lover's  declaration  with  regard  to 
the  two  glorious  flood-tide  sonatas,*  and  say,  as  my 
wife  was  so  fond  of  saying,  God  bless  you !  They 
made  me  genuinely  happy  for  a  couple  of  days,  and 
I  almost  felt  again  that  life  might  be  worth  living. 

I  am  positively  haunted  by  lovely,  original,  spring- 
like melodies,  without  knowing  to  what  they  lead. 
At  present  they  charm  me,  but  I  am  looking  forward 
to  knowing  and  possessing  them  soon.  Don't  wait 
too  long  and  let  the  manuscript  paper  get  cold  !  You 
must  know  that  we  all  want  you.  I  most  of  all. 
Keep  a  little  corner  warm  for  me — *  Tom's  a-cold  !'t 
— Yours, 

Herzogenberg. 

274.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[Ischl]  August  8,  1895. 

Dear  Friend, — I  opened  your  parcel  J  this  time  with 
the  greatest  delight ;  in  the  first  place  because  I  had 
heard  from  Engelmann  that  you  were  at  Graz  with 
some  eye  trouble,  but  now  that  I  have  this  message 
sent  from  your  home,  and  in  your  own  welcome 
writing,  I  hope  I  need  not  worry.  I  then  discovered 
with  renewed  delight  that  you  had  not  forgotten 
Eichendorff — the  little  god  of  most  of  us  in  our  youth — 
in  the  midst  of  your  strenuous  life. 

The  songs  (both  music  and  words)  are  melancholy 
enough,  certainly,  but  they  sing  the  memory  of  such 
unforgettable  charm  and  loveliness  that  one  cannot 
feel  sad  or  depressed. 

*  Two  sonatas  for  clarinet  and  piano,  Op.  120. 
t  King  Lear,  Act  III.,  Scene  iv. 

X  Herzogenberg's  Elegische  Gesange  (words  by  Eichendorff)  for 
soprano,  Op.  91. 


414  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

I  should  be  glad  of  a  few  lines  to  say  how  you  are, 
but  an  industrious  man  like  you  may  always  be  said 
to  have  answered  that  question ! 

So  good-bye.  Kindest  regards,  and  picture  me 
happily  engaged  in  leisurely  appreciation. 

J.  Brahms. 

275.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Heiden,  August  II,  1895. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  am  delighted  that  my 
songs  have  procured  me  such  a  nice  little  letter.  I 
should  certainly  have  thought  the  oratorio,*  by  reason 
of  its  scope  and  treatment,  more  likely  to  arouse 
your  comment,  whether  friendly,  warm,  frank,  and 
encouraging,  or  the  reverse.  I  confess  I  looked 
forward  to  it  eagerly  for  a  little  time ;  then  came  this 
confounded  inflammation,  and  I  had  to  close  my  eyes 
patiently  and  examine  myself  from  inside.  I  assure 
you  it  is  not  pleasant  to  feel  the  world  growing  *  drab 
as  a  dormouse  '  around  you. 

I  should  particularly  enjoy  having  the  clarinet 
sonatas  to  look  at  just  now.  If  you  should  have 
thought  of  me  with  your  usual  kindness,  the  dear 
things  may  easily  have  stuck  fast  in  Berlin.  A  hint 
from  you,  and  they  would  fly  hither.  .  .  . 

I  hope  I  shall  be  well  enough  this  year  to  visit 
Frau  Schumann  at  Interlaken.  Won't  you  go  too, 
and  get  in  a  flying  visit  to  Heiden  ? 

I  will  undertake  to  bring  you  to  her,  incognito, 
via  Rapperswyl  and  Bruning.     I  could  envy  you  your 

*  Herzogenberg's  Die  Geburt  Christi,  Church  oratorio  for  solos, 
mixed  chorus,  and  children's  voices,  accompanied  by  harmonium, 
strings,  oboe,  congregational  singing,  and  organ  (Op.  90). 


AN  ESTRANGEMENT  415 

*  leisurely   enjoyment.'*      For   myself,    I    still    labour 

under  the  delusion  that  there  is  work  for  me  to  do. 

Pray  for  me ! — Yours  sincerely, 

Herzogenberg. 

276.  Brahms  to  Herzogenberg. 

[IscHL,  June,  1896.] 

Dear  Friend, — It  is  really  a  great  pity  that  we  hear 
so  little  of  one  another,  but  I  can  hardly  expect  to 
hear  more  when  I  am  such  a  bad  correspondent. 
However,  I  should  like  to  have  your  summer  address. 
I  shall  have  a  trifle  to  send  soon,  which  may  cause 
you  to  attack  my  unchristian  principles  in  your  new 
paper!!  Other  less  compromising  things,  which  are, 
however,  not  suitable  for  publication,  I  should  very 
much  like  to  have  shown  you  at  the  piano.J 

But  I  suppose  you  will  not  be  coming  to  Austria, 
not  at  least  to  Ischl  ? 

In  any  case,  your  address,  please.  Kindest  regards 
to  yourself  and  dear  companion. § — Yours, 

J.  Brahms. 

*  The  tone  of  Brahms's  letter  (Letter  274) — in  particular,  perhaps 
the  expression  '  leisurely  appreciation '  (Brahms  wrote  '  behaglichsien 
Geniessen'  so  indistinctly  that  Herzogenberg  read  *  bchaglichen 
Genussen') — wounded  Herzogenberg  so  deeply  as  to  lead  to  a  serious 
breach  between  the  friends.  It  will  be  seen  that  there  is  an  interval 
of  ten  months  between  this  letter  and  the  next. — Tr. 

t  Vier  Ernste  Gesange,  Op.  121.  Brahms  had  some  qualms  about 
pubHshing  these  songs,  on  account  of  the  not  only  undogmatic,  but 
in  part  incredible,  texts  to  which  they  were  composed.  The  new 
paper  referred  to  is  probably  the  Monatsschrift  fur  Gotiesdienst  und 
Kirchliche  Kunst,  edited  by  Dr.  Friedrich  Spitta  and  Dr.  Julius  Smend, 
assisted  by  Herzogenberg. 

I  Probably  the  posthumous  Choralvorspiele  for  organ. 

§  Helene  Hauptmann,  daughter  of  Moritz  Hauptmann,  and  an  old 
friend  of  the  Herzogenbergs,  had  undertaken  to  look  after  Herzogen- 
berg and  his  house  after  his  wife's  death. 


v-^ 


4i6  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


277.  Herzogenherg  to  Brahtns. 

Heiden,  near  Rorschach,  Switzerland, 
July  I,  1896. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — And  is  it  Sunday  to-day, 
that  anything  so  charming  should  happen  to  me?  A 
nice,  nice  letter  from  you  and  the  thrilling  prospect  of 
some  heathenish  music — music  of  any  sort  indeed  ! 
Let  me  betray  my  hiding-place  at  once !  We  have 
been  here  since  the  beginning  of  June,  composing 
much  useless  stuff,  being  incited  thereto  by  Mother 
Nature,  who  must  be  held  responsible. 

The  best  way  of  sending  music  abroad  is  to  label  it 
*  Business  papers,  registered.'  This  by  the  way.  The 
best  way  of  all,  however,  is  to  bring  it  oneself  by 
train.  We  should  be  quiet  here  all  through  August ; 
why  not  come  to  Switzerland  again  ?  Towards  the 
end  of  September  I  shall  be  returning  to  Berlin  via 
Graz.  Should  1  find  you  still  at  Ischl  ?  I  could  easily 
arrange  to  go  that  much  out  of  my  way.  Or  should 
I  find  you  in  Vienna  about  September  29th  ? 

As  for  my  outburst  of  piety,  let  me  remind  you  of 
the  proverb  :  *  He  who  has  no  faith  must  have  emotions.' 
I  believe  nothing,  but  experience  emotions  in  conse- 
quence. 

Particularly  to-day  ! 

All  kind  messages  from  Helene,*  as  from  myself. — 

Yours, 

Herzogenberg. 

*  Helene  Hauptmann. 


'VIER  ERNSTE  GESANGE'  41; 

278.  Herzogenberg  to  Brahms. 

Heiden,  July  15,  1896. 

Dear  Friend, — Best  thanks  for  the  Ernste  Gesdnge. 
You  are  indeed  fruitful  in  surprises !  Who  but  you 
ever  conceived  the  idea  of  composing  Bible  words  in 
this  independent  way,  free  from  all  the  traditions  of 
Church  and  liturgy  I  What  will  the  singers  make  of 
it  ?  I  can  hear  them  singing  in  the  drawing-room 
after  dinner  of  those  who  *  are  yet  able  to  receive  meat,'* 
for  stupidity  knows  no  bounds  !  But  I  ask  myself 
seriously  how  they  are  to  be  classified.  All  music 
must  be  best  suited  to  some  occasion,  after  all.  You 
may  shrug  your  shoulders,  and  take  your  pleasure  in 
advance  at  having  created  pieces  of  such  glorious 
depth  ;  I  too,  in  my  admiration  of  your  powers  of 
technique  and  expression  in  No.  3  above  all.  How 
blissfully  one  lingers  over  that  E  major  part !  Who 
would  not  hope  to  pass  away  to  the  sound  of  such 
rich,  bittersweet,  yearning  harmonies.  Then  the 
beautiful  B  major  melody  in  No.  4,  and  the  whole  of 
No.  2 !  vSome  parts  are  not  to  be  taken  in  so  quickly, 
and  that  is  just  the  best  of  it,  for  there  will  be  new 
beauties  cropping  up  everywhere. 

And  so  I  may  shrug  my  shoulders  too,  and  leave  it 
to  my  friends  the  parsons  to  settle  down  again  after 
licking  their  lips  in  anticipation  of  a  scandal. 

Well,  and  where  am  I  to  see  you — at  Heiden,  Ischl, 
or  in  Vienna  ? — As  of  old,  yours  very  sincerely, 

H.  Herzogenberg. 

*  *  O  Death,  how  bitter  is  the  remembrance  of  thee  to  a  man  that 
liveth  at  rest  in  his  possessions  .  .  .  yea,  unto  him  that  is  yet  able 
to  receive  meat'  (Ecclcsiasticus  xli.  i). — Tr. 

27 


4i8  JOHANNES  BRAHMS 

279.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[IscHL,  July  21,  1896.] 

I  was  uncommonly  glad  to  hear  that  my  *  harvesters' 
revels'*  met  v^^ith  your  approval.  I  am  afraid  our 
meeting  must  be  here  or  in  Vienna,  so  please  make 
inquiries  before  you  start  as  to  v^hether  I  am  here 
or  there.  I  should  like  to  be  able  to  look  forv^ard  to 
a  couple  of  days  with  you. — Kindest  regards, 

J.Br. 

280.  Brahms  to  Herzogenherg. 

[Karlsbad,  September  15,  1896.] 

Dear  Friend, — You  will  certainly  not  find  me  at 
Ischl.  Just  now  I  am  here  at  Karlsbad,  but  have  not 
succeeded  in  losing  my  touch  of  jaundice  t  so  far.  I 
hope  to  be  in  Vienna  b}^  the  28th.  You  are  sure  to  be 
stopping  there  in  any  case  ?  Otherwise  I  would  write 
more  definitely  later. — Kindest  regards.     Yours, 

J.Br. 

281.  Herzogenherg  to  Brahms. 

Berlin  W.  62,  Kurfurstexdamm,  263, 
March  26,  1897. 

My  very  dear  Friend, — I  have  two  habits  which 
refuse  to  be  shaken  off:  one  is,  that  I  still  compose; 

*  The  South  German  expression  Sclinaderliupfe.ln  is  used  to 
describe  a  Uvely  song  to  which  the  harvesters  dance  at  their  festival. 
Brahms  was  fond  of  using  it  when  alluding,  either  in  speech  or  in 
WTiting,  to  his  Vicr  ernste  Gesdiige,  usually  prefixing  the  adjective 
'  godless.' 

t  Brahms  was  taken  ill  at  Ischl  in  June  with  jaundice,  which 
proved  to  be  a  symptom  of  the  more  serious  organic  disease  which 
eventually  led  to  his  death.  The  Karlsbad  treatment  did  him  more 
harm  than  good. 


A  LAST  TRIBUTE  419 

the  other,  that  I  ask — just  as  I  did  thirty-four  years 
ago — *  What  will  He  say  to  it  ?' 

*  He,'  I  may  say,  is  you.  It  is  true  you  have  had 
nothing  to  say  to  it  for  some  years  past — a  fact  I  am 
at  liberty  to  explain  in  my  own  way.  It  has  certainly 
not  affected  my  devotion  to  you,  to  which  I  propose  to 
give  expression  by  another  dedication,*  for  which  I 
claim  your  indulgence. 

My  thoughts  are  more  than  ever  with  you,  now  that 
I  know  you  are  ill.  Let  us  hope  spring  will  make 
a  change  of  air  possible.  Even  if  the  direct  medicinal 
effect  is  not  apparent,  it  refreshes  and  enlivens  one 
mentally  and  physically,  and  no  doctor  will  deny 
that  that  may  lead  to  a  cure.f — Your  old  friend  and 
admirer, 

H.  Herzogenberg. 

*  Herzogenberg  dedicated  his  second  piano  quartet,  Op.  95,  to 
Brahms. 

t  On  the  day  when  this  letter  was  written,  Brahms  had  gone  to 
bed  'to  rest  a  Httle.'  He  never  got  up  again,  but  died  on  April  3. 
A  letter  to  thank  Herzogenberg  for  this  dedication  was  dictated  to 
Arthur  Faber,  but  is,  unfortunately,  not  now  available. 


INDEX 


Abraham,  Dr.  M.,  140,  185 
d' Albert,  Kugen,  179,  323  n. 
Alexis,  W.,  47  n.,  230  n. 
Allgeyer,  J.,  89  n.,  99,  335,  34° 
Angerer,  Dr.,  333,  336-7 
Astor,  B.,  xi,  3,  49,  52,  98,238,  240, 
313,  364,  397 

Bach,  J.  S.,  vi,  viii,  1-2,  8,  17,  21, 
22  n.,  33,  46,  48.  81,  83  n.,  88,  94, 
121,  153-4,  182,  199,203,  20811., 
210,  222  n.,  255,  316  n.,  329 

Bargiel,  W.,  278 

Earth,  H.,  270,  278,  410  n. 

Earth,  R.,  202 

Baudissin,  Grafin  Klothilde  An- 
nette. See  Stockliausen,  An- 
nette von 

Beethoven,  L.  von,  7, 31,  36,  38,  53, 
103,  124,  125  n.,  126,  164,  195, 
198,  200,  207  n.,  280,  284-5, 316  n., 

373  n-,  409  «• 

Bellini,  G.,  184 

Bennet  -  Brewster,  Julie.  See 
Stockhausen,  Julie  von 

Eernsdorf,  E.,  256 

Bettelheim,  Karoline,  332 

Billroth,  Else,  407 

Billroth,  T.,  54,  105  n.,  124  n.,  128, 
134  n.,  166,  294  n.,  319,  333,  335, 
338,  351,  410,  412 

Bismarck,  Prince,  384  n. 

Bizet,  G.,  187  n.,  360 

Bohme,  F.,  119  n. 

Bohine,  F.  M.,  190 

Borodin,  A.,  176 

Bosendorfer,  L.,  270 

Brahms,  Johannes,  v,  vi,  viii-xi. 
Works  :  Pianoforte  sonata 
(Op.  5),  194  n.  ;  Trio  in  B  (Op.  8), 
381,  389-90,  398, 399-400  ;  Seren- 
ades (Op.  II  and  16),  123,  204; 
Concerto  in  D  minor  (Op.  15), 
ix,  31,  35  n.,  60,  148  n.,  151,  204. 
279  n. ;  Sextet  in  B  flat  (Op.  18), 


123,  295  ;  Quartet  in  G  minor 
(Op.  25),  123  ;  Quartet  in  A 
(Op.  26),  116  ;  Ivieder  (Op.  32), 
359>  364 ;  Magelo7ie-Ronianzen 
(Op.  33),  204;  Pianoforte  quintet 
in  F  minor  (Op.  34),  116,  120; 
Sextet  in  G  (Op.  36),  97,  123.  167, 
211,  387  ;  Horn  trio  (Op.  40),  67  ; 
Darthulas  Grabgesang  (Op.  42), 
314  n. ;  Von  eztngei' Liebe  (Op.  43), 
60 ;  Mainacht  (Op.  43),  60 ;  Ger- 
man Requiem  (Op.  45),  ix,  11 1-2, 
120,  122,  154,  15641.,  211  ;  Lieder 
(Op.  46-47-49),  215,  216; 
Rinaldo  (Op.  50),  ix,  97,  123, 
194  n.;  Quartets  (Op.  51),  184; 
Liebeslieder  (Oy>-  52),  ix,  60;  Alt- 
Rhapsodie  [O'p.^:^),  ix,  103,  i94n.; 
Song  of  Destiny  (Op.  54),  97, 
224,  279  n. ;  Triumphlied  (Op.  55), 
122,  314  n.  ;  Haydn  variations 
(Op.  56),  ix,  9  n.  ;  96  n.,  144, 
148  n.,  323  n. ;  Unbewegte  laue 
Luft  (Op.  57,  No.  8),  34 ;  Regen- 
lied{0]i.  59),  183,  298  n. ;  Quartet 
in  C  minor  (Op.  60),  9  n.,  31,  34, 
67  ;  Duette  (Op.  61),  39  n.  ; 
Lieder  u.  Gesange  (Op.  63),  63  n. ; 
Quartet  in  B  flat  (Op.  67),  50, 
242;  vSymphony  in  C  minor 
(Op.  68),  9,  10,  14,  15,  37,  38,  45, 
72,  74,  146,  148  n.,  150,  152,  184; 
Lieder  n.  Gesange  (Op.  69-72), 
17  n.,  18-24,  27  n.  ;  Sj^mphony 
in  D  (Op.  73),  25-32, 35,  36,  38-40, 
43,  46,  49,  53,  55  ;  Motet  Warum? 
(Op.  74),  59,  61.  62,65,  103,  196  n.  ; 
Balladen  21.  Ro^nanzen  (Op.  75), 
37  n.,  41-44,  47-48;  Klavierstiicke 
(Op.  76),  64  n.,  68-71,  73,  80,  104; 
Violin  concerto  (Op.  77),  66  n., 
72,  74,  75.  77.  85,  95,  96-7,  loi  n. ; 
113,  114  n. ;  T16,  127,  256,  281  u., 
283,  314  n.  ;  Violin  sonata  in  G, 
(Op.  78),  88-90,  96,   103,  192  n., 


4^0 


INDEX 


421 


359»  364^  404;  Rhapsodies(Op.  79), 
94-9,  102,  104,  105,  106-8,  109, 
147  n.  ;  '  Academic  '  overture 
(Op.  80),  III  n..  113,  114-5,  144; 
'  Tragic '  overture  (Op.  8i),iiin., 
1 15  n.,  144;  Nanie  (Op.  82),  138, 
139-40,  141,  142-4;  Concerto  in  B 
flat(Op.  83),  134, 141, 142  n.,  143  »•> 
I44>  147  n.,  148  n.,  176,  179  n., 
191,  209  n.,  323  u. ;  Romanzen  u. 
Lieder  (Op.  84-5-6,  88),  156-8, 
159,  160-1,  163-5,  178,276;  Trio 
in  C  (Op.  8),  in;  Quintet  in  F 
(Op.  88),  167-173,  175,204,  241  n., 
265.  386,  387  ;  Song  of  the  Fates 
(Op.  89),  177-8,  180,  192  n. ;  Sym- 
phony in  F  (Op.  90) ,  180  n.»  183, 
186,  1S8,  190,  192,  194  n.,  200, 
323  n. ;  Alto  songs  (Op.  91),  207, 
213,218;  O  schd7ieNacht\0^.  92, 
No.  I),  25  n.,  31  n.,  33-4,  174  n. ; 
Liedei'  n.  Romanzen  (Op.  93«), 
186-8;  Tafellied  {O-^.  93^),  222; 
Lieder  (Op.  94),  234  u.  ;  Lieder 
(Op.  95-6-7),  217,  225,  226-35,  241, 
248;  Symphony  in  K  minor 
(Op.  98),  207,  236,  238,  239,  240- 
^9'  275-9,  281-2,  285-6,  294  n., 
296;  'Cello  sonata  in  F  (Op.  99), 
288-90,  313  ;  Violin  sonata  in  A 
(Op.  100),  294  n.,  297-8,  301,  302-4, 
313  ;  Trio  in  C  minor  (Op.  loi), 
297-3051  307»  312,  314  n. ;  Double 
concerto  (Op.  102),  315  n.,  320  n., 
321,  323  n.,  324,  343  ;  Zigeuner- 
heder  (Op.  103),  326  n.,  335,  338, 
342  n.,  349,  358,  364 ;  Funf 
Gesdnge  a  capelLa  (Op.  104), 
301  n.,  308,  312,  344,  352-4; 
Lieder  u.  Gesdnge  (Op.  105-6-7), 
225,  291,  293,  298,  352-9,  368; 
Violin  sonata  in  D  minor  (Op. 
108),  351,  360.3,  364,  365-8,  375; 
Motets  (Op.  no),  377,  378-80; 
Quintet  in  G  (Op.  in),  386-9, 
390,  391,392-6;  Seeks  Quartette 
(Op.  112),  406;  Canons  (Op.  113), 
398,  405,  406;  Clarinet  trio 
(Op.  114),  407-8;  Clarinet 
quintet  (Op.  115),  407-8;  Klavier- 
stileke{Op.  118-9),  41 1;  Clarinet 
sonatas  (Op.  120),  413, 414;  yier 
ernste  Gesdnge  (Op.  121),  109, 
415  n.,  416,  417,  418;  Choralvor- 
spiele  (posth.),  415;  Canon, 
'  Wan7i  hort  der Himinel,^  117  n.; 
Canon,  '  Mir  Idchelt  kein  Friih- 
ling,''  119,  120,   129;  *  (9  Trau- 


rigkeit,  O  Herzeleid,^  52  -  3 ; 
Klavierilbungeji,  113,  114,  411; 
Presto  afitr  Bach,  17,  21  ;  Volks- 
lieder,  86,  91  ;  Hungarian 
Dances,  105,  108-9;  Instrumen- 
tation of  Schubert  songs,  192  n. 
Breitkopf  and  Hartel,   10,  24,  25, 

77,  153,  214 
Brendel,  F.,  176  n. 
Breslaur,  K.,  205  n. 
Brodsky,  Dr.  A.,  178,  185,  192  n., 

212-3,  252,  281  n.,  314  n. 
Bruckner,  A.,  214,  215-6,  219,  220, 

221,  224,  255,  283 
Briill,  I.,  140,  244  n. 
Bulow,  Hans  von,  96  n.,  124,  125-6, 

141,  142  n.,  148-52,  194 n.,  209  n., 

236  n.  238  n.,  252,  309  n.,  310  n., 

351  n-»353,  410-11 
Busch,  M.,  177 
Butlis,J.,  14-15 

Cellini,  Benvenuto,  282 
Cherubini,  L.,  123,  222  n. 
Chopin,  F.,  vii,  24,  26,  28,  30,  76, 

Cbrysander,  F.,  2,  72  n.,  118,  131, 
195-7,  199-200,  308,  309,  384,  386 
Conrat,  H.,  338  n. 
Czerny,  Carl,  214  n.,  225 

Daumer,  G.  F.,  34,  226 
Delibes,  Leo,  360 
Dessoff,  O.,  v,  vi,  162 
Dietrich,  C.  W.  K.,  164 
Dirzka,  vii 
Donner,  J.  J.  K.,  222 
Door,  A.,  198 
Draseke,  F.,  176 
Dvorak,  Anton,  181,  255 

Ehlert,  L.,  103-4,  140 
EichendorfF,  J.  Freiherr  von,  413 
Engelmann,  Emma,  26,  27,  29,  40, 
41,  67,  71,  104,  109,  113,  114,  115, 
116,  125,  150,  307,  324,  405  n. 
Engelmann,  T.  W.,  26  u.,  38,  44, 
71,  72,  73,  76,  loi,  104,  105,  106, 
109,  113,  115,  116,  150,  176,  191, 
199,204,215,410,413 
Engelmann,  W.,  27,  48,  67,  73,  76 
Epstein,  J.,  vii,  viii,  28,  137,  155, 
156,  158,  185,  198,  208,  272,  320, 

325.  338,  339,  372,  405 
Erk,  L.,  86  n. 
Exner,  A.,  124  u.,  393  n. 
Eyck,  Jan  van,  312 


422 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


Faber,  Arthur,  4  n.,  8,  16,  46,  54  n., 
56,  58  n.,  93,  173,  185,  208,  338, 
372,  382,  419  n. 

Faber,  Bertha,  xi,  4,  5,  8,  16/  46, 
58  n.,  93,  173,  338,  372,  382 

Feuerbach,  A.,  138  n,,  155,  335-6 

Feuerbach,  Henriette,  139  n. 

Fiedler,  Dr.,  330,  340,  408 

Fillunger,  Marie,  24,  68,  iii,  324 

Fleischl,  O.  von,  407 

Flemming,  Paul,  357 

Frank,  E.,  54  n. 

Franz,  Anna,   236,  237,  240,   326, 

327.  332,  351,  372,  382 
Franz,  Dr.,  54  n. 
Franz,    Fllen.       See    Heldburg, 

Freifrau  von 
Franz,  Robert,  2  n..  210 
Frappart,  h.,  36 
Frederick  II.,  the  Great,  308  n. 
Frederick  III.,  German  Emperor, 

334 
Frege,  I^ivia,  10 
Freund,  Robert,  409  n. 
Friedmann,  A.,  195  n. 
Frisch,  Marie,  393  n. 
Fritsch,  Henriette,  320  n. 
Fritzch,  E.  W.,  119,  120,  128,  129, 

147  n.,  205,   207,  208,    209,    224, 

256  n.,  257,  279,  283,   308,    309, 

373 

Gallmeyer,  Josephine,  289 

Gast,  Peter,  371  n. 

George  II.,  Duke  of  Saxe-Mein- 

ingen,  201  n.,  236,  237 
Giusti,  G.,  166  n. 
Gluck,  Christoph,  350 
Goethe,  Johann  Wolfgang  von, 

(quotations),    239,    243   n.,   296, 

353-4,'  356,  361,  368 
Goldmark,  Karl,   12,  21,28,  54  n., 

56  n. 
Goltermann,  J.,  26  n. 
Gomperz,  J.  von,  332  n. 
Gomperz,     Karoline    von.      See 

Bettelheim,  Karoline 
Gomperz,  T.,  326,  332,  342 
Gouvy,  L.,  216-7 
Grieg,  Edvard,  72,  184,  303  n. 
Grimm,  Jakob  and  Wilhelm,  47, 

224 
Grosser,  J.,  268 

Groth,  Klaus,  291  n.,  298,  344,  358 
Gumprecht,  O.,  279 

Hamerling,  R.,  315  n.,  316,  319 
Handel,  G.  F.,  114,  131,  210 


Hanslick,  E.,  82  n.,  147,  195  n., 
206,  244  n.,  310,  331 

Hartel,  R.,  10,  13,  14 

Hartenthal,  Mathilde  von,  11,  13, 
17-18,  37 

Hartmann,  Bertha,  296,  3x9  n. 

Hartmann,  M,,  296 

Hauptmann,  M.,  84  n.,  292  n., 
415  n. 

Hauptmann,  Helene,  xi,  415,  416 

Hausmann,  R.,  261,  268,  287,  288, 
289,  290,  296,  302,  307,  321,  323, 
395,  399>  410  n. 

Heckmann,  R.,  50,  209,  211 

Hegar,  Dr.  F.,  409  n. 

Hegyesi,  L.,  314  n. 

Heine,  Heinrich,  109,  228  n. 

Heldburg,  Helene,  Freifrau  von, 
236  n.,  258 

Henschel,  G.,  2 

Hensel,  W.,  200  n. 

Hertz,  W.,  34: 

Herzogenberg,  A.  P.  Freiherr 
von,  V 

Herzogenberg,  Elisabet  von,  v, 
vii-xi 

Herzogenberg,  Heinrich, Freiherr 
von,  v-xi.  Works  :  Variations 
on  a  Theme  bj^  Brahms  (Op. 
23),  I,  3,  4,  6.7;  Lieder  und 
Romanzen  (Op.  26),  382  n.  ; 
String  Trios  (Op.  27),  80,  91,  93, 
172,  274,  294;  Twelve  Sacred 
Volkslieder  (Op.  28),  80,  86-87, 
91,  93,  no;  Psalm  cxvi.  (Op.  34), 
166, 174;  PianoforteTrio(Op.36), 
198;  Duets  (Op.  38),  186;  Four 
Songs  (Op.  40),  213  n. ;  Three 
String  Quartets  (Op.  42),  50,  53, 
188,  193-5,  209,  211,  274,  294, 
382 ;  Lieder  (Op.  44),  408 ;  Ser- 
bische  Madchenlieder  (Op.  45), 
406  ;  Symphony  in  C  minor 
(Op.  50),  238,  240,  274;  Violon- 
cello sonata  (Op.  52),  287,  307  ; 
Waltzes,  pianoforte  duet  (Op. 
53),  382  n. ;  Stern  des  Lieds, 
ode  for  chorus  and  orchestra 

lOp-  55).  3T-3,  315-6,  319 ;  ii^eike 
der  Nacht,  alto,  chorus,  and 
orchestra  (Op.  56),  313,  315-6. 
322 ;  Six  Songs  for  Mixed 
Chorus  (Op.  57),  302,  305-6,  307, 
308;  Psalm  xciv.  (Op.  60),  319, 
375 ;  Legenden,  pianoforte  and 
viola  (Op.  62),  377  n. ;  Sym- 
phony in  B  (Op.  70),  238  n.,  294; 
Konigspsalm     (Op.     71),    397, 


INDEX 


423 


399 ;  Requiem  {Op.  72),  396, 
397  n.,  398-9;  TotenfeierQ.2LrvX.2X2i 
(Op.  80),  X ;  Die  Geburi  Chrisii, 
oratorio  (Op.  90),  x,  414;  Ele- 
gische  Gesdnge  (Op.  91-105), 
413;  'Die  Passion,'  oratorio 
(Op.  93),  X  ;  Pianoforte  Quartet 
(Op.  95),  419  n.;  Motets  (Op.  103), 
61 ;  Erntefeier,  oratorio  (Op. 
104),  X 

Heyse,  P.,  309 

Hildebrand,  A.,  64,  210,  215,  236  n,, 
375,  404,  407-8 

Hiller,  F.,  138,  139,  198  n. 

Hoffmann,  E.  T.  A.,  237  n. 

Holderlin,  F.,  221,  222 

Hollander,  A.,  314  n. 

Holsteiu,  F.  von,  viii,  i,  45, 
56-S 

Holstem,  Hedwig  von,  57,  58,  151. 
405  n. 

Holty,  L.,  373  "• 

Hubay,  J.,  381  n. 

Hummer,  R,,  3S1  n. 

Jhering,  R.  von,  393  n. 
Joachim,  Amalie,  292,  293 
Joachim,  Dr.  Josef,  24,  58  n.,  72, 
74>  75,  77,  90  n.,  95  n.,  96  n., 
Ill  n.,  113,  114,  183,  185  u., 
189,  219,  255,  256,  259,  261  n., 
265,  267,  268,  269, ,  275-6,  278, 
279,  283,  287,  290,  292  n.,  295, 
297  n.,  298,  302,  304,  313,  320  n., 
321,  322,  323  n.,  343  n.,  367,  372, 
377,  390,  391-2,  393-  394.  4^0  n. 

Kahn,  R.,  385 
Kaiserfeld,  M.  von,  241 
Kalbeck,  Max,  13  n.,  35  u.,  109  n., 

19a  n.,  314  n.,  319  n.,  381  n. 
Keller,  Fides,  88,  90-1,  93 
Keller,  Gottfried,  309,  341  n.,  393, 

410  n. 
Kiel,  F.,  203,  223,  385  n. 
Kipke,  K.,  48 
Kirchner,  T.,  45,  52,  80-1,  83,  92, 

126-7,  132,  152,  175,  310  n. 
Klengel,  Julius,  218  n.,  224 
Klengel,  P.,  218 
Klindworth,  K.,  267 
Koopmann,  184  n. 
Koselitz,  H.    See  Gast,  Peter 
Kupfer,  W,,  224  n. 

Labor,  J.,  373 
Lachner,  V.,  385  n. 


Leander,  R.     See  Volkmann    R. 

von 
Lemcke,  K.,  34,  356 
Levi,  Hermann,  330,  340 
Leyen,  R.  von  der,  201  n. 
Limburger,  Consul,  30,  67,  71,  72, 

74,  75,   142,    180,    181,   182,   191, 

204,  211,  236 
Lingg,  H.,  193  n. 
Lipsius,  Marie  (La  Mara),  214  n., 

296 
Liszt,  Franz,  138-9,  141, 177, 179  n., 

218  n.,  305 
Loewe,  K.,  24 
Luther,  Martin,  182 

Macfarren,  Mrs.,  119,  120 
Mackenzie,  Miss,  117,  119  n. 
Mair,  Amanda,  48-9 
Makart,  H.,  289 
Mandyczewski,  E.,  xi,  214  n..  289, 

297  n.,  402 
Mannstadt,  F.,  267 
Marie,    Princess,    of  Meiningen, 

231 
Marxen,  E.,  80  n. 
Meinardus,  L.,  182 
Mendelssohn  -  Bartholdy,     Felix, 

ion.,  109,  139,  149,  200-1 
Miller,  V.  von,  310  n. 
Morhange,  C.  H.  B.  (Alkan),  30 
Mosenthal,  S.  H.,  91 
Mozart,  W.  A.,  123,  255,  286 
Muff  at,  G.,  187,  189 
Muhlfeld,  R.,  153  n. 

Naumann,  E.,  33,  117  n. 
Nietzsche,  F.,  369,  370-3 
Nikisch,  Arthur,  177,  214  n. 
Nottebohm,  G.,  7,  53,  81,  82 
Novacek,  O.,  212-3 

Oberhofer,  Dr.,. 58 
Oertel,  Dr.,  258 

Perlthaler,  Karoline,  67  n. 
Peters,  C.   F.,   8,   114  n.,  140  n., 

185  n.,  405,  406 
Petri,  Henri,  185 
Platen,  August,  Graf,  359,  364 
Pohl,  K.  P\,  297  n. 
Pohl.  R.,  64  n. 
Popper,  David,  381  n. 
Porubszky,  Dr.  G.,  4,  5 
Prohaska,  K.,  390 
Priiwer,  J.,  270-3 


424 


JOHANNES  BRAHMS 


Radecke,  R.,  94,  267 

Raff.  J.,  180 

Raimund,  F.,  116,  395  u. 

Reinecke,  Karl,  15,  32,  97  n. 

Reintbaler,  K.,  38,  154-5 

Reni,  Guido,  363  n. 

Reuss,  Henry  XXVI.,  Prince  of, 

150,  189,  191 
Rheinberger,  J.,  385  n. 
Richter,  E.  F.,  84 
Richter,  Dr.  Hans,  253  n. 
Riedel,  K.,  176,397 
Riemann,  Hugo,  353 
Rieter-Biedermann  (Firm),  i  n.,  2, 

3   n.,  8,   72  n.,  313  n.,   315  u., 

364  n.,  376 
Rieter-Biedermann,  J.  M.,  3  n.,  8 
Rimsky-Korsakoff,  N.,  176  n. 
Rochlitz,  F.,  255  n. 
Rodenberg,  J.,  103  n. 
Roder,  C.  G.,  20,  114 
Rontgen,  Amanda,  1 16,  132,  349, 

351.  357,  360-3,  367,  375 
Rontgen,  E.,  84,  132,  167,  175,  324 
Rontgen,  Johanna,  132,  167,  175, 

201,  278-80 
Rontgen,  Julius,  16,  40,  44,  45,  46, 

47,  116,  132,  139,  J40,   170,  191, 

207 
Rontgen,  Lina,  204 
Rose,  Arnold,  381  n.,  393  n. 
Rubinstein,  Anton,  46,  1 18,  268-9, 

273,  274-5 
Rudorff,  E.,  270-1,  375,  410  n. 
Rust,  F.  W.,  125 

Santen-Kolff,  J.  van,  209 
Santiui,  Abbate,  214  n. 
vScarlatti,  D.,  214,  217,  218,  225 
Schaeffer,  J.,  2 

Schiller,  Friedrich,  207  n.,  221 
Schmid,  Dr.  A.,  349,  350,  374 
Schmitt,  Hans,  270,  272 
Scholz,  Dr.  Bernhard,  14  n. 
Schubert,  Franz,  164, 192  n.,  207  n., 
214,  242,  267,  280,  282,  284,  285, 

347 

Schulze,  A.,  401,  402,  410  n. 

Schumann,  Clara,  ix,  8,  10,  11, 
18,  19,  2T,  22,  23,  24,  29,  39-40, 
42,  43,  46,  49,  55-56,  63,  67,  85, 
86,  87,  III  n.,  112,  131-2,  134, 
158,  161-2,  210,  237,  240,  241, 
243  n.,  247,  259,  267-8,  269,  301, 
314,  351,  364,  366-7,  369,  370,  372, 
373,  374-6,  405  n.,  408,  410,  411, 
412,  414 

Schumann,  Eugenie,  63,  iii 


Schumann,  Felix,  63 
Schumann,  Marie,  63 
Schumann,  Robert,  7,   10  n.,  23, 

67  n.,  81,   loi  n.,   103,   III,  132, 

139,    149,    274,   286-8,   289,    297, 

298,  306,  331 
Schiitz,  Heinrich,  400-1 
Schwab,  C.  T.,  222 
Schwencke,  F.  G.,  382  n. 
Seeburg,  Elisabet,  58 
Senff,  B.,  17  n. 
Shakespeare,  W.,  413  n. 
Sillem,  J.  A.,  38,  184  n. 
Simrock,  P.,  3,  29,  49,  98,  187,  209, 

310,  411 
Simrock,  N.  (Firm),  9,  19,  38,  59, 

80,  86,  176,  379,  407 
Smyth,  Ethel,  59,  60,  67,  70,  71, 

83,  85,    122,    124,   128,    150,  152, 

154,  159,  160,  161,  185 
Sophocles,  221 
Spengel,  J.,  315*  383,  384 
Spies,    Hermine,    192  n.,    194  n., 

291,    292,    293-4,    295,   310,   312, 

390 
Spitta,  P.,  viii,  i,  2,  28,  196,  200, 

217  n.,  248,  283,   302,   389,  399, 

400,  401,  410  n. 
Spitteler,  K.,  347,  348-9 
Stahr,  A.,  54 
Stauffer-Bern,  K.,  341 
Stockhausen,   Annette    von,   vii, 

59,  60,   130,    133,    135,    145,   166, 

254,  311,  321,  404 
Stockhausen,   Bodo  A.    Freiherr 
von,    vii,    24,   26,   30,    147,    254, 

275 
Stockhausen,   Ernst  von,  25,  26, 

30,  50,  55.  76,  79,  i5o»  152,  154. 
285-6 
Stockhausen,  Julie  von,  vii,  viii, 

60,  97,  99,  244,  340,  407 
Stockhausen,  Julius,  26,  158,  161 -2 
Strauss,  Eduard,  224 

Taaffe,  Graf  Eduard,  181 
Taubert,  W.,  266 
Tchaikovskv,  P.,  255 
Thieriot,  F.,''8o,  87 
Thomson,  Cesar,  278 

Vesque  von  Puttlingen,  Helene, 

Baronin,  57  n. 
Vogel,  B.,  147 
Vogel,  M.,  176 
Volkland,  A.,  viii,   i,  2,  78,   322, 

372 
Volkmann,  R.  von  (Leander),  407 


INDEX 


425 


Wach,  Dr.  A.,  xi,    150,  152,    2S1, 

340 
Wach,  Ivili,   150,    152,  200-1,  281, 

340,  405  n. 
Wagner,  L.  von,  241  n. 
Wagner,  Richard,  vi,  3  n.,  38-40, 

42,   49,   66,    118,    131,    159,    176, 

181  n.,  182,  221,  256,  330,  331-2, 

371 
Wehner,  A.,  7-8,  9 
Wendt,  G..  221  n. 
Werzer,  Frau,  65 
Westphal,  R.,  353 
Wickenburg-Almasj-.Wilhelmine, 

Grafin,  280,  282,  333 
Widmann,  J.  V.,  343,  347,  409  n. 


Wildenbruch,  E.  von,  301 
Wilhelm   I.,   German    Kmperor, 

333,  341 
Wilt,  Marie,  66 
Wolf,  J.,  217,  266 
Wolff,  Hermann,  181 
Wolff,  U,  202 
Wiillner,  F.,  i  n.,  38,  39,  40,  41, 

177,  183,  314  n.,  322  n. 


Ziemssen,  H.  W.  von,  318 
Zimmermann,  Agnes,  117 
Zollner,  H.,  331 
Zoltan,  Nagy,  338  n. 
Zopff,  H.,  176 


THE    END 


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